Kentucky gained a big-time recruit that most people will overlook because he's a punter.
Max Duffy is the No. 1 ranked punter in the class of 2018, according to prokicker.com, who also has Kentucky’s 2018 kicker, Chance Poore, ranked as the No. 1 kicker/punter combo in the nation.
Duffy is a product of ProKick Australia, who is coached by Nathan Chapman and John Smith in Melbourne, Australia. You may recall the name Matt Panton? Well, he’s from the same training program in Australia.
Another big name of the now widely-known Aussie program is Jordan Berry, who played at EKU and has been the starting punter for the Pittsburgh Steelers since 2015.
“I wanted to come to Kentucky, because it’s big time there. They have a great football program and basketball is big as well," Duffy said. "It’s also the SEC and it’s the biggest stage to play on."
Duffy took a four-hour flight from Western Australia to Melbourne to train in the intense special teams program, after being cut from the Fremantle Club of the Australian Football League after three seasons.
To Australian kids, they grow up kicking a football instead of passing a football, so naturally, they have the ability to punt the football. Duffy has only been training to become an American Football Player since this past March and is already averaging well over 45 yards per punt and 4.5 seconds of hang time. NFL scouts look at 5.0 second hang time, so he’s close to that number already.
Prokick Australia Coach Nathan Chapman had nothing but high praise for Duffy.
"He’s a great athlete with a range of kicking attributes, including the spiral and roll out kicks,” Chapman said. This is what we saw Matt Panton focus on this season. “He has a strong leg and will be very accurate with his kicks inside the 20.”
Chapman went on to say Duffy will “be able to put the ball over the field to make it difficult for the high-quality returners in the SEC.”
Duffy won’t just be handed the starter position, as he must go through the veteran, Grant McKinniss, but It should definitely be a great match-up to watch next season.