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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M outfielder Jace Laviolette (17) robs a home run from Florida infielder Cade Kurland (4) in the top of the ninth inning during Texas A&M’s game against Florida at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Sunday, June 15, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
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June 16, 2024

Punters are people too’

Drew Kaser has 46 punts this football season, averaging 44.5 yards per punt.  
Photo by Brian Johnson.
Drew Kaser has 46 punts this football season, averaging 44.5 yards per punt.   Photo by Brian Johnson.

The punter fills one of football’s most unsung roster spots. The position may only be called upon a handful of times throughout the course of a game, and is more often than not either criticized for a poor punt or dismissed as an insignificant member of the team.
However, Texas A&M’s Drew Kaser, a 2013 Ray Guy Award finalist and First Team All-SEC punter, grabbed the spotlight as he, with humorous intent, started a farfetched Heisman campaign while at the 2014 SEC football media days.
He displayed his campaign slogan on a T-shirt: “Punters are people, too.”
“Everyone plays it up larger than it was,” Kaser said. “I never really thought of it as anything of a T-shirt that was made. It was more of a joke than really what happened. I didn’t really contribute to it at all. It was all social media for about two months there.”
Heisman talk or not, Kaser continues to excel at his role, booming kicks and pinning opposing offenses deep inside their own territory. The 6-foot-3, 210-pound redshirt junior from Strongsville, Ohio, has punted the ball 46 times this year, averaging 44.5 yards per punt, forcing 17 fair catches and planting 16 kicks inside the opponent’s 20 yard line.
These statistics rank him in the top 25 for individual punting and puts the team inside the top 15 for net punting, but Kaser will be the first to admit that he has not yet maximized his potential this season.
“I was struggling probably early on,” Kaser said. “My drop was off, my steps were a little bit off too. I was struggling a little bit with that and then — I think it was after the Arkansas game — I really started getting back on track, really started working on my drop and my steps, and really started working hard and trying to get back to the punter that I am.”
His extra work paid off last weekend with his best performance of the season, which earned him National Punter of the Week Honors in Texas A&M’s upset of then-No. 3 Auburn. Kaser launched all three of his punts in the game a minimum of 50 yards, including a season-long 60-yard boot.
His best punt in the Auburn game, however, only went a net 41 yards. With less than two minutes remaining in the game, Kaser took the field with the football inside the one yard line. He faced the daunting task of punting from his own end zone.
“I was probably about eight inches or so [from the back of the end zone],” Kaser said. “I tried cutting it as close as I could without getting too close. The ball was literally on, probably, the two-inch line at the snap and then having my shield about four of five yards back from that limited me to only about four yards actually to work with.”
A botched snap, mishandling of the football or blocked punt could have doomed the Aggies, who were clinging to a three point lead at the time. Kaser, though, handled the play without problem, launching a punt downfield that Auburn returner Quan Bray was only able to return for nine yards.
“I prayed,” Kaser said. “No, I just shortened my steps, got the ball out as quickly as I could, and really just tried to get it set up so that my gunner, Floyd Raven, who’s probably one of the best gunners in the country, could get down there as fast as possible.”
Not only did his punt relieve the Aggies from the shadow of their own goal line, it also gave their defense a reasonable opportunity to prevent the Tigers from scoring again. A&M defensive end Julien Obioha credits Kaser for his effort.
“It was really great when we were backed up in our own end zone and Drew Kaser was able to knock off that great punt,” Obioha said. “It just helps us. I know, as a defensive player, you take a different mentality when you’re only lining up from the 50 and then when you’re lining up from the 25, so Drew Kaser really helps our defense.”

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