If you’re drawing a blank as to what Penn State’s punting game was like prior to Blake Gillikin’s arrival in Happy Valley, then that’s a very good thing, and I urge you to remain blissfully ignorant of the past.
From the moment he set foot on the field as a freshman in 2016, Gillikin has been the shot in the leg that the Nittany Lions’ anemic punting game had so desperately needed (I’m convinced PSU would’ve had two additional wins against Maryland and Illinois in 2014 if they had a capable punter). Ergo, it’s quite fitting that Gillikin was named to the 2018 Ray Guy Award Watch List released today, which is given to college football’s best punter.
With 113 punts to his name, Blake has averaged a solid 43 yards per punt, with a career-long of 69 yards (yes, that is very nice indeed). Not only does he have the ability to boom punts long distances, but he also possesses the accuracy that allows him to pooch punt balls deep into opposing territory, forcing opponents to have to drive 90-plus yards in order to score a touchdown. In addition to continuing to kill it as a punter, Blake is likely to be the team’s kickoff specialist with Tyler Davis having graduated after last season, which will hopefully lead to fewer opposing kickoff returns as he nails ball after ball in the end zone.
Since its creation in 2000, no Penn State punter has won the Ray Guy Award. Here’s to Blake becoming the first Nittany Lion to ever do so.