June 2, 2023
College football's 15 best punters of 2023

Iowa punter Tory Taylor punts the ball during the third quarter of the Music City Bowl against Kentucky Saturday, December 31, 2022 at Nissan Stadium. (Lynn Harrington/stayaliveinpower5)

It’s all about the most important aspect of today’s game, which is field position.

Pinning an opponent deep in their own territory and dictating the flow of the game is what elite punters do. And during the process they make life easier for defenses. There’s nothing like making an offense drive the entire length of the field.

Last season these 15 individuals generated success with their strong legs, and are looking to capitalize on their campaigns this fall.

15. Joshua Sloan, UTEP: The Australian was consistent with his strong leg, and ranked 19th in the FBS in punting average last season. Sloan nailed 15 of his punts inside the 20-yard line. Not to mention 11 of his punts went for 50-plus yards. He booted the ball six times, including a 64-yarder, which was a season-high against New Mexico State. The six-foot-two, 189-pounder posted a 60-yard punt, and landed three others inside the 20-yard line against Middle Tennessee State. Sloan recorded a 57-yard punt, and landed two others inside the 20-yard line against Florida Atlantic.

14. Oscar Chapman, Auburn: He finished third in the almighty SEC in punting average last season. Not to mention 12 of Chapman’s punts went for 50-plus yards. The Australian also landed 18 of his kicks inside the 20-yard-line. Chapman booted the ball eight times, including one for a season-high, 61 yards against Missouri. His nine punts against Georgia were a season-high, and included a 56-yarder. The six-foot-three, 204-pounder landed three of his five punts inside the 20-yard line, against Texas A&M. Chapman had seven punts, including a 51-yarder against Mississippi State.

13. Brian Buschini, Nebraska: The Montana native looked solid, and finished sixth in the Big Ten in net punting average last season. Buschini landed 14 of his punts inside the 20-yard-line. Not to mention 16 of his kicks went for 50-plus yards. He landed four of his six punts inside the 20-yard line against Northwestern. Buschini posted a 71-yard punt against Wisconsin, which was a season-high. The six-foot-one, 225-pounder booted the ball six times, including a 61-yarder against Minnesota. Buschini punted the ball four times, including a 65-yarder against Georgia Southern.

12. Mark Vassett, Transfer Portal: The Australian ranked fourth in the ACC, and 17th in the FBS in punting average at Louisville in 2022. Vassett landed 19 of his punts inside the 20-yard line. Not to mention 10 of his balls went for 50-plus yards. He landed four of his five punts inside the 20-yard line against Florida State. Vassett posted a 52-yard punt at Boston College. The six-foot-four, 220-pounder landed two of his six punts inside the 20-yard line against Clemson. Vassett’s 68-yard punt against the Tigers was a season-high. He’ll be a great addition wherever he lands.

11. Colton Spangler, Maryland: He finished third in the Big Ten, and 17th in the FBS in punting average last season. Spangler landed 16 of his balls inside the 20-yard line. Not to mention 13 of his punts went for 50-plus yards. Spangler posted a 63-yard punt against Buffalo. The Maryland native also landed two of his four punts inside the 20-yard line against the Bulls. Spangler booted the ball seven times, including a 60-yarder at Wisconsin. The six-foot, 185-pounder posted a season-high, eight punts, including a 59-yarder at Penn State. Spangler is poised for an All-Big Ten campaign.

10. Riley Thompson, Penn State: He ranked 12th in the FBS in net punting average at Florida Atlantic last season. Thompson booted 26 balls inside the 20-yard line, and only three of his punts went for a touchback. Not to mention 15 of his punts went for 50-plus yards. Thompson landed four of his seven punts inside the 20-yard line against UAB. His 71-yard bomb against the Blazers was a season-high. The Australian landed three of his four punts inside the 20-yards line in the victory over Florida International. Thompson recorded nine punts, including a 59-yarder against Western Kentucky

9. Jesse Mirco, Ohio State: The former three-star prospect ranked third in the Big Ten and 14th in the FBS in punting average last season. The Buckeyes were so prolific on offense that Mirco didn’t have to do much. He still capped off his campaign with third-team, All-Big Ten honors. Mirco landed 17 of his punts inside the 20-yard line. Not to mention five of his balls went for 50-plus yards. The six-foot-four, 215-pounder had a season-high, 77-yard punt at Northwestern. Mirco booted five balls, including a 57-yarder against Michigan. The Australian posted a 55-yard punt against Michigan State.

8. James Evans, Indiana: The New Zealand native finished fifth in the Big Ten, and 21st in the FBS in punting average last season. Evans was a natural at pinning opponents deep, and landed 30 of his punts inside the 20-yard line. Not to mention 24 of his kicks went for 50-plus yards. He booted seven balls, including a 53-yarder at Cincinnati. Evans landed three of his 10 punts inside the 20-yard line at Nebraska. His 11 punts against Ohio State were a season-high, and he landed five of those inside the 20-yard line. Evans posted a season-high, 69-yard punt against Penn State.

7. Daniel Sparks, Virginia: The Alabama native ranked second in the ACC, and ninth in the FBS in punting average last season. Sparks was strategic, and landed 12 of his balls inside the 20-yard line. Not to mention 14 of his punts went for 50-plus yards. He also capped off his stellar campaign with second-team, All-ACC honors. Sparks booted six  balls, including a 56-yarder at Illinois. The six-foot-six, 203-pounder posted eight punts, including a 63-yarder against Pittsburgh, which were both season-highs. Sparks landed two of his four punts inside the 20-yard line against at Syracuse.

6. Ben Kieman, North Carolina: The Ireland native led the ACC and finished fourth in the FBS in net punting average last year. Kieman landed 18 of his balls inside the 20-yard line, and only two went for a touchback. Not to mention he had 14 punts of 50-plus yards. For his heroics, Kieman earned third-team, All-ACC honors. He booted the ball five times, including a season-high, 70-yarder against Georgia State. Kieman landed three of his five punts inside the 20-yard line against Georgia Tech. The six-foot, 210-pounder had a 55-yard bomb in the victory over Virginia.

5. Eddie Czaplicki, USC: The former three-star prospect led the Pac-12, and finished eighth in the FBS in punting average at Arizona State last in 2022. Czaplicki landed 15 of his balls inside the 20-yard line. Not to mention 16 of his punts went for 50-plus yards. He landed three of his of his seven balls inside the 20-yard line at Washington State. The Charlotte native punted eight balls, incling a 75-yard at Oklahoma State, which were both season-highs. Czaplicki posted a 72-yard kick against Eastern Michigan. The cherry on top for Czaplicki, was earning first-team, All-Pac-12 honors.

4. Jack Browning, San Diego State: The Californian displayed a powerful leg, and finished seventh in the country in punting average in 2022. Browning landed 28 of his balls inside the 20-yard line. Not to mention 21 of his punts went for 50-plus yards. Browning also handled kickoff duties for the Aztecs. The 5-foot-11, 190-pounder posted a season-high, 10 punts, including a 55-yarder against Boise State. Browning landed six of his nine punts inside the 20-yard line against Toledo. For his heroics in the clutch, Browning capped off the year with first-team, All-MWC honors.

3. Kai Kroeger, South Carolina: The former two-star prospect led the almighty SEC, and finished sixth in the nation in punting average last season. Kroeger landed 20 of his balls inside the 20-yard line. Not to mention 18 of his punts went for 50-plus yards. He also earned first-team, All-SEC honors for the way he delivered in the clutch. Kroeger punted seven times, including a jaw-dropping, 79-yarder against Georgia State. The Illinois native registered a 69-yard punt in the win at Vanderbilt. Koreger landed five of his seven punts inside the 20-yard line in the victory at Clemson.

2. Mason Fletcher, Cincinnati: The Australian is coming off a magnificent campaign. Fletcher ranked fifth in the FBS in punting average. Not to mention he was a Ray Guy Award finalist, and earned third-team, AP All-America honors. He landed 29 of his balls inside the 20-yard line. Fletcher also booted 14 of his balls for 50-plus yards. The six-foot-seven, 205-pounder recorded a jaw-dropping, 84-yard punt in the road victory at SMU. Fletcher booted a ball for 64 yards against Kennesaw State. He remained consistent after he generated a 54-yard punt in the season-opener at Arkansas.

1. Tory Taylor, Iowa: The former two-star prospect has tremendous leg power that he displayed all of last season. Taylor ranked second in the Big Ten, and 11th in the FBS in net punting average. He was able to get a ton of production because the offense was one of the worst in the country. Taylor landed a jaw-dropping, 38 balls inside the 20-yard line. Not to mention 27 of his punts went for 50-plus yards. The Australian left a lasting impression after he landed six of his eight punts in the 20-yard line in the shutout bowl victory over Kentucky. Taylor capped off his stellar campaign with second-team, AP All-American honors.