#28 Mason King
Class: RS Junior
Hometown: Louisville, KY (Product of St. Xavier High School)
Thoughts: The specialists on most college football teams are often just a blip on the radar of the average football fan. Did the punter shank it? No? Okay, moving on. Did the kicker split the uprights? Yes? Ok, moving on. Fair or not, a single play here or there during the season often defines what the common fan thinks about each specialist for the whole year. Miss a field goal in crunch time and suddenly you’re not “clutch”. Drop a snap or send a punt out of bounds 10 yards beyond the line of scrimmage and all of the sudden you’re a bum. I say all this for one reason and one reason only, in the last two years specifically (and even beyond that if I’m being honest) the Cardinals fanbase has had ZERO to complain about from anyone on special teams. I already covered Creque, I already covered Mitch Hall, and today you get me toot tooting the horn of one Mr. Mason King.
After taking a redshirt Mason won the starting punter job outright back in 2016 and has done nothing but dominate since being ‘crowned the king’. Punting every single opportunity he had in 2016 Mason set the single season record for average yards per punt at 43.9 yards, sending 14 balls over 50 yards down field and having an over 50% fair catch rate, literally flipping the field nearly every time the ball left his foot. Beginners luck? No way he could keep that up right? Well, in 2017 all he did was match that top spot in the record books for season average once again (43.9yds), sent another 10 punts 50 plus yards, dropped 10 punts inside the 20, and in the games they needed him the most he averaged 49.7yds against FSU, 44.0yds in a tight one against Purdue, 47.7yds in a close one with Boston College, and 0.0 yds against Kentucky…because he did not have to punt one single time against that team from down the road. In fact, his ZERO punts against UK and the three other games where only punted once (UNC/Kent/Murray) kept his season total at only 43 punts, not even allowing him to qualify for national rankings in yardage and average. Mason put in the ball in such a good spot with consistency that the coverage team only allowed one return all season over 30 yards, good enough to land them at 28th nationally as a unit, and only allowed a 5.85yds/return average for the whole year.
If Mason averages over 42.4 yards per punt each of the next two seasons he’ll own the top four single season averages in Louisville history, one for each year he was a starter. If he finishes this season and his senior season with an average above 40.4yds he’ll also own the career punt average at 42.1yds….meaning the two specialists we have right now at kicker and punter could both end their career at the #1 spot in each of their respective specialties. Insane.
Show some love to ‘The Regulators’ folks. They good.
In case you hadn’t noticed….FOUR WEEKS from today we kick this thing off. Let the preparations begin.