Kentucky Punter Max Duffy wins Ray Guy Award

COLUMBIA, SC - SEPTEMBER 16: Defensive back Derrick Baity
COLUMBIA, SC - SEPTEMBER 16: Defensive back Derrick Baity /

Kentucky’s Max Duffy was honored as the nation’s top punter on Thursday night, but just how good is he?

Punting. Some call it the easiest job in the world, some call it the hardest. Regardless of opinion, it is difficult to be an elite punter at any level of football. This year, Kentucky’s star punter Max Duffy finally got the credit he deserves for bridging the gap into eliteness.

At 26-years old, Duffy had a bit of a late start in college football. A native Australian, Duffy began his sports career as an Australian Rules Football player. He would go on to be drafted as the 39th overall pick in the 2012 – yes, you read that correctly – AFL Draft. After finding limited mobility in the AFL, Duffy searched for another option.

Luckily for the Wildcats, the answer was retirement. Duffy retired from the AFL and trained to become an American punter. At the time of his commitment to the Cats, Duffy was ranked the #1 punting prospect by

So, how did we end up here- a punting leader, first team-All SEC selection, and now, the greatest honor of all, Ray Guy Award recipient?

Since his time began at Kentucky, Duffy has marked a 46.5-yard average, a mark that puts him securely at the #1-rank in UK history. His patient boot is as powerful as it is accurate, with over half (24/47) of this season’s punts landing inside the twenty-yard line. He has an FBS-best mean of 48.6 yards-per-punt on 47 kicks, and less than one of every five punts were even returned.

However, Duffy points to his savvy as his biggest tool.

“You see some guys punt and they just catch the ball and watch the ball the whole time and then they kick it and they haven’t sent one single guy to come block the kick,” Duffy told Big Blue Nation TV last month. “Well, why kick it? Just hold onto the thing as long as you can. That’s one of the main things that I try and do that I think maybe sets me apart a little bit. I may not have the strongest leg but I think I’m good at judging what they’re trying to do.”

With all of these tools in his skillset, Duffy has become a veritable NFL talent. And now, after beating Syracuse’s Sterling Hofrichter and Houston’s Dane Roy, he joins Lynn Bowden Jr. in accomplishing something that Kentucky has never seen before – two national player of the year honors.

While punting is something that is not appreciated in the same esteem as quarterback play and defensive prowess (and for good reason), Duffy’s achievement is not something to take lightly. Kentucky has the BEST player in the country in a specific category, AGAIN– a la Josh Allen and Lynn Bowden. That is something that can go a long way in recruiting, developing, and motivating players on the roster.

Welcome to the Ray Guy club, Max Duffy.