Redshirt sophomore punter Isaac Parks had a fantastic outing and put up a career best against Newberry, racking up 328 yards on seven punts. PN photo/Trevon Knight
In the game of football playmakers are often thought as those who play at skill positions
on offense such as the starting quarterback, star receiver, dynamic running back or a game wrecking defensive player.
Seldom is a player that may not even see the field for even a dozen snaps regarded as a weapon for his team, but that is exactly what redshirt sophomore punter Isaac Parks has been for the Black in Gold this season.
Through the first four games of the season Parks has been a tremendous asset for the Braves with his booming punts that often flip the field, pin the opposing offenses back in their own territory and giving his gunners plenty of time to field his high arching kicks.
“As far as the team goes, everything kind of builds on each other so I think I’ve done my part, but my kicks wouldn’t be as impressive if I didn’t have a bunch of great guys on special teams with me,” said Parks.
He has been phenomenal on his way to amassing 44.32 net punting yards, an average that has been climbing with each game and whopping six punts of 50 or more yards.
He has also exhibited surgical precision with his ball placement on his kicks as he has downed seven of his 16 attempts inside the opposing teams 20-yard line.
“Part of my success here has been because the coaches really do support me, support my decisions, they really think highly of me, so it gives me a great feeling to go out there. It’s not
just the coaches, it’s the whole team is really kind of behind me when I head out there to punt,” said Parks.
His best outing so far this season and of his young career came against the Wolves of Newberry College on sept. 29 in the team’s first game back in action after the aftermath of hurricane Florence. He booted seven punts for an astounding 328 yards for a 46.86 average and a long of 53 yards.
“That was definitely, probably one of the best career performances I’ve ever had. A little bit of luck involved just on the 53 yarder that bounced at the two (yard line) and hit that slow role to the one-yard line. That was a little bit of luck. Aside from that, a lot of that was practiced,” said Parks.
The most impressive stat of the game wasn’t even the total net yards he put up, the healthy average or even his longest punt of the day. It was the fact that he was able to put four of his seven attempts inside the 20 of Newberry’s side of the field and what was Parks Proves that Punters Are Weapons Toothe most jaw dropping, and awe inspiring was when he was able to have two punts downed at the Wolves’ one-yard line.
Parks was able to pin the Wolves back deep at their own one-yard line on back-to-back drives in the first half. PN photo/Trevon Knight
As fantastic as a performance was, he doesn’t believe it is his ceiling an in fact expects even better from himself going forward and sees this as a building block and not the apex of his career.
Park’s punts seem to come off his foot with the same spin, tight spiral, velocity and high arch of a strong-armed quarterback throwing a long bomb with the same amount of touch to pin opponents back deep.
“It’s not one of those things you really think about when you’re a punter because it’s just expected from you but when you get a good flat drop and it hits kind of against the sweet spot. If you hit the just right and you can kid of think about it’ll actually come off (upward) and roll off your foot in a way... it will just spiral off,” said Parks.
The art, appreciation and impact of having not just a quality but an excellent punter is not to be underestimated or undervalued.
Braves Head Coach Shane Richardson knows and is grateful for having such a weapon in his team’s arsenal because of Park’s integral part that he plays in the team’s overall success.
Isaac punted fantastic, absolutely. He had actually practiced that way too and so that was just a great reflection of how hard he worked and what he looked like in practice so that was very pleasing to see,” said Richardson of his punters performance against Newberry.