the study of the kicking components within sports

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Draft Preview: Tom Hornsey

Among the punters eligible for this year's NFL draft, or signing as an undrafted free agent thereafter, is Memphis's Tom Hornsey. He ranks in the top five in the majority of the various draft rankings.

Excerpts from Hornsey's profile page on the Tigers' website:

2013 Senior Season
  • 2013 Ray Guy Award recipient
  • Selected to play in the 2014 NFL Players Association Collegiate Bowl
  • Four-year starting punter who averaged 43.15 yards over his playing career
  • Over his career had 34 games in which he averaged 40+ yards (minimum four punts per game) which was just off the NCAA record of 37 games
  • Booted 73 punts of 50+ yards ... Had 13 punts of 60 yards or more including a career-long 79-yarder during senior season
  • Placed 101 career punts inside opponents' 20-yard line (34 percent) ... Over his career, had just 12 touchbacks (four percent)
  • Also a threat on fake punts, converting all four of his attempts ... Rushed three times for 62 yards (27, 21 and 14 yards) and also completed a 61-yard pass during career
  • Began the year by averaging 45.6 yards per punt against Duke ... Placed four of his seven punts inside the Blue Devils' 20-yard line and had two punts of 50+ yards including a season-best, 79-yarder ... The 79-yard punt against Duke tied for the second-longest punt of the 2013 season and the second-longest in Memphis history (Roland Eveland had an 85-yard punt against Washington in 1950)
  • Followed up the Duke game by averaging 49.6 yards per punt against Middle Tennessee and was named the winner of the first ever Ray Guy Award Player of the Week
  • Received his second Ray Guy Award Player of the Week recognition after averaging 46.8 yards in the Tigers' win over UT Martin ... Among his punts was a 70-yarder, which ties for the sixth longest in school history, and had three punts downed inside the Skyhawks' 20
2012 Junior Season
  • Placed 25 of his 60 punts inside opponents' 20 yard line (42 percent) ... Of the 25 punts inside opponents' 20, had 15 of those punts downed inside the 10, including eight inside the five
  • In the first two games of the 2012 season, had 60+ yard punts in both contests, had a total of five punts of 50+ yards and 10 downed inside opponents' 20-yard line
  • Averaged 45.9 yards per punt during the first two weeks of the season including at Arkansas State where he had eight punts for a 46.8 yard average ... Seven of his punts at A-State were downed inside the Red Wolves' 20 including four inside the 10 ... For his efforts at Arkansas State, was named the National Punter of the Week by the College Football Performance Awards
  • Averaged a season-high 52.7 yards on three punts against Tulane while helping alter field position in the game ... Had a pair of punts from inside the Memphis where downed at the Tulane 37 and 23 (52 and 45 yard punts, respectively) and also had a 61-yard punt in the game.
2011 Sophomore Season
  • The 95 punts and 3,993 yards both set school single-season records
  • led C-USA in punts over 50 yards (19) and was second in punt inside the 20 yard line (23) ... 
  • Had only five touchbacks in his 95 punt attempts
  • logged four solo stops and a fumble recovery on special teams
  • Landed a season-best four punts inside the 20 yard line vs Arkansas State 
  • Posted career highs (single game) for punts (12) and punt yardage (475) vs SMU ... His 12 punts and 475 punt yardage both were the second-most for a single game in school history ... Tied a season high for four punts inside the 20 vs the Mustangs
  • Had a season-best four punts of 50 or more yards vs Rice ... Punted 10 times for 47.1 average vs the Owls ... The 471 punt yardage vs the Owls were the third-most for a single game in school history ... Logged a season-high two solo hits vs Rice
2010 Freshman Season
  • Played in first American football games in 2010
  • Totaled 17 punts over 50 yards and dropped 24 punts inside the 20 ... Only 30 percent of his punts were returned
  • In his first game of U.S.-style football, posted 438 yards on nine punts against Mississippi State ... Had four punts over 50 yards, including a long of 57 yards, vs the Bulldogs ... Dropped a career-high five punts inside the 20 vs Mississippi State ... His 438 punt yardage vs the Bulldogs was seventh most for a single game in school history 
High School
  • Attended St. Joseph's College and played Australian Rules Football and tennis
  • Participated in the championship game of the Geelong Football League, a 12-team Australian Rules Football league based in Victoria, Australia
  • The Australian Rules Football junior representative for his region
  • Listed on the Geelong VFL roster for 2008
  • The leading goal kicker for his local club team

College Stats:
2013: 62 punts, 45.2 yard average, long of 79 yards
2012: 60 punts, 43.4 yard average, long of 63 yards
2011: 95 punts, 42.0 yard average, long of 66 yards
2010: 80 punts, 42.7 yard average, long of 63 yards

Last December, Hornseys' career was discussed by someone who knows him well... his mother:
“It’s been a lifelong journey of Tom’s to head in this direction, to play at the highest level possible. We never thought it would be in this direction, though. But the opportunity presented itself and Tom thought he would give it a go.... It’s been a steep learning curve for him, American sports takes a different approach – it’s professional from the word go seven days a week. The workload and body of work expected is very intense. You can’t take your foot off the pedal at all, it’s gruelling, but Tom thrives on that.... We’re proud of him for his dedication and hard work.”
Last September, Hornsey discussed the difference between punting college and NFL balls:
Before coming to the U of M, Hornsey says he practiced exclusively with NFL footballs and actually likes punting those better than the skinnier-in-the-middle college ball. “The pro ball has a bigger sweet spot, allows for more hang time,” he said. “The college ball is more aerodynamic, travels lower and faster. I do feel I can punt there.”

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