What a year it's been for Iowa punter Tory Taylor. As Iowa's offense has acted like a vehicle stuck in neutral, it's been a phenomenal year for Taylor. Sadly for Iowa fans, he announced last month he won't return to Iowa, instead entering the NFL draft. Before he leaves, Taylor will set a national record that no one thought would ever be reached.

Taylor has already been named this year's recipient of the Eddleman-Fields Punter of the Year in the Big Ten. He was first-team All-Big Ten, and first-team All-America by both The Athletic and CBS.

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All of the above is very deserving for Taylor, who is already Iowa's all-time leader in punts. Jason Baker booted 274 punts during his Iowa career (1997-2000), before spending 11 seasons in the NFL. Taylor has booted the football 288 times, thus far, in his career.

Taylor is also a very good teacher.

During Taylor's amazing career, he has punted for a total of 13,297 yards. That's the equivalent of 7.55 miles. But, this season? Taylor is about to break a mark that's been held since World War II.

In 1938, Michigan State punter John Pingel punted for 4,138 yards. He punted a remarkable 99 times for a 41.8-yard average. In addition to setting the record for punting yards in a season, the first-team All-American was also 7th nationally in both rushing and passing that year. Incredible stuff from a future College Football Hall of Famer. Doing all three for the NFL's Detroit Lions, it's no wonder Pingel played only one season in the pros.

In 2023, Tory Taylor set the Iowa record for punting yards in a season for the third straight year. This season, he's kicked it 86 times for 4,119 yards. When he punts for the first time in Iowa's Citrus Bowl game against Tennessee on New Year's Day, he'll break Pingel's record for most yards in a season. This was first reported by Sports Illustrated.

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Taylor is fourth nationally this season with an average of 47.9 yards per punt. However, let's look at the three guys in front of him.

  1. James Ferguson-Reynolds (Boise State). He's averaging 49.6 yards per punt but has kicked only 51 times. Boise State is 8-5.
  2. Jeremy Crawshaw (Florida). He averages 48.9 yards per boot. Crawshaw punted only 42 times. Florida finished the season 5-7.
  3. Ryan Rehkow (Brigham Young). He averaged 48.4 yards per punt on 68 kicks. BYU also finished 5-7.

When you consider Iowa is 10-3, and that Taylor has pinned the competition inside the 20-yard line on more than a third of his punts (30 of 86), how do you not give him the Ray Guy Award?

The voters agreed with my sentiment. Friday night, they named Taylor the winner of the Ray Guy Award, given to the nation's top punter. Taylor is the first Hawkeye to win the award.

No punter in college football has had the positive impact on his team that Taylor has had this season. I'm going to miss watching him and the Iowa special teams unit bury the opposition deep in its territory.

Good luck in the NFL, Tory. Iowa fans will be cheering for you for years to come.

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