by DRAKE LOHSE
A punter’s perspective is quite strange. How many kids claw over on another to be the punter in backyard games? How many punters jerseys do we see on sport store racks? In a game of inches the punter decides where the opposing team will start their drive. For many football fans the punter often gets boiled down to a single syllable: Who?
For Drake that ‘who’ is Ross Kennedy, former Cedar Rapids Washington standout. Kennedy helped guide the Warriors to second place in 2014, and the quarterfinals in 2015 averaging 36 yards/punt and 17 punts inside the 20 yard line.
“I started playing football in 6th grade. I played different positions and I wasn’t good at any of them,” remembers Kennedy. “I decided to stop playing my freshman year of high school until my freshman basketball coach talked me into playing again. I figured if I was going to play I was going to have to try kicking since I was a small kid. I had no shot in any other position.”
The marketing major suited up at Drake for his first season quickly picking up where he had left off. Last season he placed another 17 punts inside the 20 and booted a 57 yard punt against Montana. But perhaps the highest honor came this summer when the senior was named to the FCS Punter of The Year Award watchlist.
“It’s still very weird to think about for me,” Kennedy said. “When I see the other punters on the list it makes me feel even more blessed. I’ve worked with most of them, they are all very talented. Steve Doran texted me the tweet announcing I was on the list. It really fired me up! Making this list means my hard work is paying off. But it only makes me want to work harder.”
The first winner of the FCS Punter of The Year Award will be announced in early January. Kennedy and Bulldog fans have no choice but to buckle down and show up on Saturdays.
“The collective aspiration is to win conference and make the playoffs. As far as personal aspirations go, they have changed since I found out, “ Kennedy said. “It would be pretty cool to be the first person to win this award. In order to do that I have to stand out. I have to punt in a way no one has seen before. If I can do that it helps my chances towards this award, and it will help us win too.”
The Drake Bulldogs kickoff their home debut at Drake Stadium on September 7th @7PM. Hopefully Kennedy won’t see the field, but should Stepsis call on him the Bulldogs will be in good hands. Well, in good feet actually.