Great (JK) Scott! Senior punter is Alabama's not-so-secret weapon
No one is going to mistake Alabama punter JK Scott for a quarterback. There may have been a few who would’ve tried at one point, but they almost certainly reneged on that when Scott was forced to give his best Brett Favre impersonation following a dropped snap against Auburn in the Iron Bowl.
Let’s just say he’s no Favre. He completed the pass, but the result was a gain of negative-9 yards.
Watching that play, it would be wise to never expect Scott to dish out bombs with his arm. His leg, however? That’s a completely different story.
The senior from Denver, Colo., has been one of college football’s elite punters from the time he stepped on the field as a true freshman in 2014. In fact, Scott was the nation’s top punter that year — averaging 48 yards per boot.
Since then, he’s finished every season with a 43-plus-yard average — including this season in which he’s averaged 43.4 yards.
He’s been excellent overall, but the Rubik’s cube master has shanked a few.
If you want proof, look no further than the 9-yard punt he had against Florida State in Week 1. Not enough evidence? Well, he also had a 28-yarder against Vanderbilt in Week 4. Still not getting the point across? How about the 19-yard punt against Texas A&M in Week 6?
Okay, you get the point. While it can be problematic, that inconsistency is really the only weakness to the Scott’s game.
So, what do you get from the 6-6, 204-pound punter at his high points that makes the rare clunker acceptable?
Here’s a look at the eight punts Scott had against rival LSU in Week 10:
- 56 yards
- 48 yards
- 54 yards
- 44 yards
- 52 yards
- 48 yards
- 58 yards
- 53 yards
Five of Scott’s eight attempts in that game went for 50-plus yards. He finished with an average of 51.6 yards per punt. Six of the eight landed inside the LSU 20-yard line.
To call that impressive would be an understatement. That’s downright insane.
“I think he changed the field position three or four times,” Nick Saban said following the 24-10 victory against LSU. “It’s critical in the game. This was probably his best game all year long in terms of not only punting, the distance, but the hangtime, because they were double-splicing the gunners.”
It’s rare for a punter to stand out in the way that Scott has on a team filled with 5-star and 4-star prospects at almost every position. That hasn’t kept him from doing just that, however.
The good news is that fans have come to appreciate Scott, both as a person and as a player. He’s actually been a fan-favorite for quite some time.
It’s also obvious that he’s a coach’s favorite as well. Here’s a look at Scott with head coach Nick Saban that was posted on Friday:
Nick Saban demonstrating the only appropriate way to hug JK Scott pic.twitter.com/a9YMNz7sZQ
— Ashley Shires (@ashleyshires) December 15, 2017
Can’t you just feel the love?
Scott’s presence on the roster over the last four years has been extremely valuable. His ability to flip field position, backed up by Alabama’s dominant defense, has been a lethal formula that has led to a lot of success for the Tide.
He was a finalist for the Ray Guy Award, which goes to the nation’s top punter. That award ultimately went to Texas punter Michael Dickson.
Scott’s career isn’t over yet. Both he and the rest of the senior class will look to add one more national championship to their resume before riding off into the sunset.
In order to do that, they must first beat No. 1 Clemson in the first round of the College Football Playoff. They’re set to face off on New Year’s Day in New Orleans.
Like with most of the games in the last four years, expect Scott to play a pivotal role. Just don’t ask him to throw any passes.