Welcome, friends, to the Off Tackle Empire Rhys Lloyd-Stefan Demos Memorial Punters Lounge. This is the only OTE article I actually care about writing, and as someone who pretended to be Rhys Lloyd as a young lad in Minnesota (no shame. ever.), one I take almost semi-seriously.
That said, I expect you all to tell me how horribly wrong I am.
1. Peter Mortell - Minnesota
Mortell tore it up in 2015, averaging a B1G-best 45.1 yards per punt, almost a third of his kicks over 50 yards, and putting 37% of them inside the 20. Oh, and he punted the third-most times in the conference. Just insane. Plus, he retweeted this article, and he's easily worth the Twitter follow:
Hit the shelves yesterday, on clearance today. If you buy one they'll give you the next at same price! pic.twitter.com/UyoXKa5BsV— Peter Mortell (@PMortell37) March 4, 2015
2. Cameron Johnston - Ohio State
Johnston did tweet that he's undergoing knee surgery this spring, but the Aussie ginger will be back and booming them in August. Ranked number if only for underuse relative to Mortell, Johnston still made his presence felt on the biggest of stages, bombing this punt (that's a YouTube link) to flip the field on the Crimson Tide. God bless rugby style. Oh, and Johnston bears a sneaky resemblance to Nigel Gruff from the Keanu version of The Replacements. I will hear no dissent.
3. Sam Foltz - Nebraska
After being named B1G Special Teams POTW after a sparkling performance in Nebraska's near-upset loss to McNeese State, Foltz scuffled a bit before recovering to earn Big Ten All-Team Honorable Mention from the coaches. The rising redshirt junior had a particular knack for pinning opponents deep but keeping the ball out of the end zone.
I don't really have anything funny or interesting to say about Sam Foltz except for this Instagram he posted, preparing for spring ball. That's a strong hair/beard game.
4. Erich Toth - Indiana
Toth set an Indiana record for punts during his junior campaign, averaging an impressive 40.7 yards per punt and an astounding 44% fair catch rate, easily the best in number and beating out Connor Kornbrath of Iowa by 3%. Dude can straight up let them fly and will build on that his senior year.
5. Thomas Meadows - Purdue
It's hard to replace the irreplaceable Cody Webster--even for Cory Debster--but Meadows did a damn good job in 2014. The Boilermaker, after the above four, was the most consistent punter in the B1G, flipping the field when an abysmal Boilermakers offense would almost inevitably stall out. Only two touchbacks? Got damn. I mean, maybe Purdue was just never close enough to the end zone to actually kick it into the end zone, but the rising senior from Goochland (GOOCHLAND!), Virginia also brings a 26% I20 rate to the table.
Nick Rubinowicz - Maryland
The freshman out of Florida has an absolute cannon for a leg.
Dan Pasquariello - Penn State
After James Franklin gave Pasquariello the green light to kick for distance and not direction, the Aussie punter made marginal strides in yardage over the last few games of the season. Some consistency could vault him onto this list in the future.
Drew Meyer - Wisconsin
Obviously not an impressive stat line--the Badgers had one of the worst net punting rates in all of college football and Bucky's 5th Quarter suggested rugby-style backup QB and punter-extraordinare Bart Houston should get a look--but included if just for this glorious gif:
And fine, Sparty fans, because you miss him so much...
Punters give us the best .gifs.
So what say you, OTE commentariat? Mortell? Johnston? Someone else? Vote in the poll and tell us in the comments!