Statistically and stylistically, Max Duffy is the best punter in Kentucky history. Even though I was a career backup punter at the collegiate level, I’m not going to pretend to understand the mechanics and specific fundamentals regarding the position. Surprisingly, Duffy wasn’t selected in the 2021 NFL Draft. There has been no word from his camp regarding a potential free agency deal at the time this post was submitted to the KSR editorial staff. Most likely he’s weighing his options in order to land with a team with the most need in the third phase. However, he was drafted by the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League. First, we’ll take a look at Duffy’s UK career and then break down how UK replaces the all-timer.
Max Duffy played in 34 career games at Kentucky. He finished his stay in Lexington as the Wildcat’s all-time leading punter with a 46-yard career average. Duffy won the Ray Guy Award which honors the top punter in college football in 2019 after averaging 48.1-yards per boot. His UK career was filled with excitement and individual accolades. Duffy was named to multiple All American and All SEC teams. He frequently flipped the field and remarkably contributed to UK’s priority in field position strategy. Replacing the best and arguably the most popular punter in program history will not be an easy task. Duffy was active in community engagement and will be missed both on and off the football field.
Mark Stoops leaned on recent history and signed another Australian punter in Wilson Berry. Berry comes to UK from ProKick Australia. His older brother Jordan played at Eastern Kentucky University under Coach Dean Hood and is currently the starting punter for the Pittsburgh Steelers. From all accounts, Wilson Berry’s punt action and style are similar to that utilized by Max Duffy.
What Does All This Mean?
Fear has no place on the football field. Full disclosure; the only time I was ever scared in a football game was when I was asked to punt against Mississippi State many, many years ago. My respect level for the position is extremely high. Max Duffy has given Wilson Berry a glowing endorsement. With not a great deal of film to analyze as well as the innate mystery about the art of the punt, Duffy’s glowing endorsement of Berry is my reference point when projecting the Wildcat’s punt game for 2021.