May 24, 2024
College football's 15 best punters of 204

Florida State punter Alex Mastromanno punts the ball during the third quarter against LSU Sunday September 3, 2023 at Camping World Stadium. (Lynn Harrington/stayaliveinpower5)

One of the most important aspects in today’s game is field position.

Pinning the opposition deep in their own territory, making them navigate long drives, and putting the defense at an advantage is the key to success. Iowa showed that last year with the worst offense in the county. However, the Hawkeyes had an elite punter in Tory Taylor, who won the Ray Guy Award, and helped them reach 10 victories during the regular season.

Which is why these 15 punters are the unsung heroes. Some are still walk-ons, who are trying to earn a scholarship too.

15. Tyler Perkins, Iowa State: Last season as a true sophomore he finished second in the Big 12, and 27th in the FBS in punting average. Perkins averaged 44.31 yards per punt, which was the third-best in school history for a single-season. Not to mention 18 of his balls went for 50-plus yards. The former three-star prospect nailed 25 punts inside the 20-yard line. His 70-yard punt in the opening victory over North Iowa was a season-long. The following week Perkins posted a 63-yard punt against Iowa. On top of that, 14 of his punts were fair caught, and seven went for a touchback.

14. Tommy Doman, Michigan: Last year he provided one of the nation’s best defenses with great field position throughout the season. Doman averaged 44.3 yards per punt for the National Champs, and capped off his campaign with third-team, All-Big Ten honors. He recorded 12 punts of 50-plus yards. Not to mention he landed 18 punts inside the 20-yard line, including four against Purdue. Doman posted a 65-yard punt at Nebraska. His 71-yard punt against Ohio State was a career-long. Doman only had four of his punts go for a touchback, and 26 were fair caught.

13. Lachlan Wilson, California: The former Tulsa Golden Hurricane finished second in the Pac-12, and tied for 23rd in the FBS in punting average last season. Wilson also capped off his campaign with second-team, All-Pac-12 honors. He recorded a season-long, 73-yard punt in the victory at UCLA. Wilson posted seven punts, including four that went for 50-plus yards against Arizona State. The Australian landed 15 punts inside the 20-yard line. Not to mention 17 of his punts went for 50-plus yards. Wilson had two punts result in a touchback, and 14 were fair caught.

12. Oscar Chapman, Auburn: The Australian averaged 44.59 yards per punt last season, which ranked fourth in the SEC, and 22nd in the the FBS. Chapman took care of business in the classroom too, and made the SEC Academic Honor Roll. He landed 23 punts inside the 20-yard line. The six-foot-three, 201-pounder had 16 of his punts go for 50-plus yards. Chapman generated a career-long, 71-yard punt against Georgia. Not to mention he posted a 66-yard punt against Ole Miss. Once the smoke cleared, 26 of Chapman’s punts were fair caught, and six went for a touchback.

11. Jack Stonehouse, Syracuse: The Californian had a breakout campaign with the Orange last season and displayed a strong leg. Stonehouse averaged 44.61 yards per punt, which ranked third in the ACC, and 21st in the FBS. He also earned third-team, All-ACC honors for his heroics. The former two-star prospect landed 18 punts inside the 20-yard line. Not to mention Stonehouse booted 19 balls for 50-plus yards. His 64-yard punt against Pittsburgh was a season-long. The six-foot-one, 199-pounder had five of his punts result in a touchback, and 24 that were fair caught.

10. Riley Thompson, Penn State: The Australian started all 13 games at punter last season. Thompson averaged 45.8 yards per punt, which ranked fourth in the Big Ten, and 12th nationally. He punted 15 balls for 50-plus yards, including four in the victory over Indiana. Not to mention Thompson landed 17 of his punts inside the 20-yard line. His 56-yard punt against Michigan was a season-long, and he tied it in the win over Rutgers. Only two of Thompson’s punts resulted in a touchback. He’ll set up the Nittany Lions with great field position, and in return their defense will thrive.

9. Mitchell Tomasek, Eastern Michigan: The Ohio native has remained consistent over the past two seasons. Last year Tomasek led the MAC, and finished 14th in the FBS in net punting average. He also capped off his campaign with first-team, All-MAC honors. Tomasek booted 20 of his balls for 50-plus yards. Not to mention 24 of his punts landed inside the 20-yard line. Tomasek’s 70-yard punt against Ball State was a season-long. Only four of his punts resulted in a touchback, and 18 were fair caught. No doubt Tomasek will be one of the best punters from the Group of Five again.

8. Jack Bouwmeester, Utah: The former three-star prospect put together a stellar campaign last season. Bouwmeester led the Pac-12, and finished 16th nationally in punting average. He also was one of 10 Ray Guy Award semifinalists, and ended the year with first-team, All-Pac-12 honors. Bouwmeester landed 20 punts inside the 20-yard line. Not to mention he booted 19 balls for 50-plus yards. The six-foot-three, 197-pounder posted a season-long, 64-yard punt in the victory over Florida. Only five of his punts resulted in a touchback, and 25 were fair caught.

7. James Evans, Indiana: The former two-star prospect was one of the bright spots on a 3-9 team last season. Evans displayed a powerful leg, and averaged 45.82 yards per punt, which ranked third in the Big Ten, and 11th in the FBS. He even capped off the year with third-team, All-Big Ten honors. Evans booted 22 balls for 50-plus yards. The New Zealand native landed 15 punts inside the 20-yard line. Evans posted a 60-yard punt in the opener against Ohio State. His 70-yard punt against Rutgers was a season-long. Only six of Evans punts went for a touchback.

6. Max Fletcher, Cincinnati: The Australian put together an underrated campaign in the SEC last season. Fletcher averaged 46.95 yards per punt for Arkansas, which ranked third in the SEC, and seventh in the FBS. He landed 19 of his punts inside the 20-yard line. Fletcher landed four ball apiece inside the 20-yard line against Alabama and Mississippi State. Not to mention he booted a ball 70 yards against the Crimson Tide. His 71-yard punt against Auburn was a season-long. Fletcher entered the portal, and landed with Cincinnati just six days after Arkansas’ spring game.

5. Ryan Eckley, Michigan State: The Florida native took the Big Ten by storm with his powerful leg last season. Eckley finished second in the Big Ten, and eighth nationally, with a 46.84 net punting average. He also earned second-team, All-Big Ten honors for his heroics. Eckley landed 24 punts inside the 20-yard line. Not to mention he booted 24 balls for 50-plus yards. His 67-yard punt at Iowa was a season-long. The six-foot-two, 211-pounder only had two of his punts that resulted in a touchback. Eckley’s punts helped put the Spartans’ defense in favorable field position.

4. Marshall Nichols, UNLV: The Atlanta native didn’t receive the recognition he deserved after a marvelous campaign last season. Nichols averaged 47.06 yards per punt, which ranked second in the Mountain West, and sixth in the FBS. However, he only earned Honorable Mention All-MWC. Nichols booted 22 ball for 50-plus yards. He landed 18 punts inside the 20-yard line. Only six of Nichols’ 51 punts resulted in a touchback. His season-long punt was for 60 yards. The six-foot-two, 220-pounder will likely play with a chip on his shoulder to prove he’s the real deal this fall.

3. James Burnip, Alabama: It’s no mystery that he gave the SEC Champs a boost with every punt last season. Burnip averaged 47.56 yards per punt, which was second-best in the SEC, and fifth nationally. He was also the holder on all kicks. Burnip was one of 10 Ray Guy Award semifinalists, who capped off his campaign with second-team, All-SEC honors. The Australian booted 24 balls for 50-plus yards. Not to mention Burnip landed 22 punts inside the 20-yard line. Only seven of his punts resulted in a touchback. Burnip’s 67-yard punt at Mississippi State was a season-long.

2. Alex Mastromanno, Florida State: The former two-star prospect put together a great campaign for the ACC Champs in 2023. Mastromanno was one of three Ray Guy Award finalists, who finished second in the ACC, and 15th in the FBS with a 45.52 punting average. He earned second-team, All-ACC honors, and helped the Seminoles finish the regular season undefeated. Mastromanno scored 115 points, led the conference with 58 PAT. The Australian booted 19 balls for 50-plus yards. Mastromanno landed 26 punts inside the 20-yard line, and only three resulted in a touchback.

1. James Ferguson-Reynolds, Boise State: He wowed College football fans with his powerful leg throughout last season. Ferguson-Reynolds finished first in the FBS after he averaged 49.73 yards per punt. He was also one of 10 Ray Guy Award semifinalists, and earned third-team, AP All-America honors. Ferguson-Reynolds booted 29 balls for 50-plus yards. Not to mention he landed 23 punts inside the 20-yard line. The Australian booed 29 balls for 50-plus yards. Ferguson-Reynolds posted a 70-yard punt against Air Force. His 71-yard punt against San Jose State was a career-long.

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