There is no position in football like the punter. When the punter takes the field, teammates, coaches, and fans are never happy to see him. The punter’s presence on the field means that the offense could not get something going, so they send out the special teams unit in hopes that this typically small and unathletic looking player with a goofy facemask can pin the opponent all the way back to their own end zone.
For the last three seasons, Temple’s Alex Starzyk has not only destroyed the typical punters’ stereotype with his athletic build, he has done nothing but pin opponents all across the American Athletic Conference deep into their own territory to win the always important game of field position and earn a nomination for the Ray Guy Award, an honor given to the nation’s best punter.
Starzyk graduated from Arlington High School in Lagrangeville, NY then attend East Coast Prep in Massachusetts for one year before walking on to the Owls in 2014. As a freshman, Starzyk played a huge role in the upset win against #21 East Carolina when five of his nine punts in the game were downed inside the ECU 20 yard line. Starzyk also had sevens punts longer than 50 yards, including his season high 62 yarder in his rookie campaign.
In Temple’s historic 2015 season where they went 10-4, Starzyk punted in 13 games averaging 42.4 yards per punt, and almost doubling his 2014 total with 13 punts that were more than 50 yards.
Alex Starzyk has also done a great job with eliminating the stereotype that punters are the least feared player whenever they take the field (but maybe not as good as Penn State’s kicker Joey Julius). In his days back at Arlington High School, Starzyk played varsity basketball and crew when he wasn’t crushing the football with his powerful right foot for the Admirals. While wearing the Cherry and the White, #43 has done his best trying to take down some punt returners, recording one tackle in each of his three seasons.
This August, Starzyk was rewarded a full scholarship for his junior and senior seasons with the Owls. The Pleasant Valley, NY native has anchored down the special teams and proven that he is worthy of that full scholarship. In the Owls’ contest against Stony Brook earlier in the season, he was rewarded Special Teams Player of the Game because two of his punts were downed within the Seawolves’ own three yard line.
Starzyk is one of 66 punters to be nominated for this year’s Ray Guy Award. The punter has done a fantastic job with mixing rugby-style kicks that role deep into opponents’ territory with booming punts that the punting unit has been able to prevent a solid return all season. Starzyk’s punts carry an average of 40 yards, and of his 35 punts, 13 of them have been downed within the opponents’ own 20 yard line.
Alex Starzyk will look to continue his consistent kicking when the red-hot Owls travel to the University of Connecticut this Friday in an American Athletic Conference Eastern division matchup. The kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. and the game can be viewed on ESPN2.