Players

Durant Brooks  

Height: 6-0   Weight: 204   Age: 32

Born: 4/15/1985 Macon , GA

College: Georgia Tech

Experience: Season

PUNTS

26

AVG

39.6

LNG

60

IN 20

9

Draft 2008

Pick No.168

Selected By: Washington Redskins

Round: 6

Pick (Overall): 2 (168)

Pick Analysis: This time, the Ray Guy Award voters got it right, as Brooks was the recipient of the 2007 award after finishing as a finalist in 2006. It was appropriate that he was named to the award, as many in the industry feel that he is the finest punter to play at the collegiate level since Ray Guy himself. Ironically, Guy has been a family friend and Brooks' mentor.

Along with kicker Travis Bell, Brooks gave the Yellow Jackets the best kicking tandem in the ountry. Boasting a 40.66-yard net average, the Tech punter ranked fourth in the nation with a 45.52-yard gross punting average in 2006, As a senior, he finished fifth nationally with a 45.06-yard average and a 40.58-yard net average.

Brooks' career average of 45.31 yards per punt attempt set an Atlantic Coast Conference all-time record and is the fourth-highest average in NCAA annals. His 57 punts for 50 yards or longer over his last two seasons set another NCAA mark. No punter in college football has been able to amass a net-yard average that the Tech athlete accomplished (43.4 avg).

Little was known about Brooks before he arrived at Georgia Tech as a transfer in 2005. He lettered three years for head coach Barney Hester at Tattnall Square Academy, where he helped lead the team to the 2001 GISA state title. He was also a basketball standout, averaging 18 points per game and setting the school record for career three-pointers.

After graduation, Brooks enrolled at Georgia Military College, spending two years punting for head coach Bert Williams. He averaged nearly 40 yards per punt over his two seasons.

In 2005, he joined the Tech program, sitting out the season while performing on the scout team.

Brooks wasted no time garnering national media attention for his towering punts at Tech in 2006. He earned All-American and All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors, in addition to being a finalist for the Ray Guy Award. He punted 79 times for 3,596 yards (45.52 avg) with 35 attempts that were downed inside the 20-yard line. He had 33 kicks returned, but the opposition managed just 164 yards, with no return longer than 18 yards, as he posted a 40.66-yard net average. He also had 27 of his punts go for 50 yards or longer.

As a senior, Brooks captured All-American and All-ACC first-team accolades, to go along with winning the Ray Guy Award. He amassed 2,929 yards on 65 attempts (45.06 avg), placing 33 inside the 20-yard line. He had 30 punts for 50 yards or longer, two shy of the NCAA single-season record. The opposition called for 21 fair catches and returned only 19 of his punts for 111 yards (5.8 avg), with none longer than 14 yards. That gave him a 40.58-yard net average.

In two seasons at Georgia Tech, Brooks shattered school and conference career records with an average of 45.31 yards on 144 punts for 6,525 yards. He had 20 kicks go for touchbacks and 68 attempts that were downed inside the 20-yard line. The opposition called for 30 fair catches and returned 52 other kicks for 275 yards (5.29 avg), finishing with a 40.63-yard net average.

Brooks put on a sensational show during Senior Bowl practices that NFL coaches are still raving about. Brooks stepped into his first punt of the day during Tuesday's session and sent it sailing. As the ball continued to fly past the other sideline and then over the head of Tampa Bay head coach Jon Gruden, Gruden simply looked up at the ball and asked, "Is that serious?"

The fact is, punts like those are not only serious for Brooks, but they have become routine. "Durant is a great talent," 49ers head coach Mike Nolan said. "I don't think teams are going to be able to sit around and hope he falls to them."

After Tuesday's practice featured the length of Brooks' punts, Wednesday focused more on directional and pooch punting drills. With the NFL scouts already aware of his leg strength, Brooks proved he could consistently down the ball inside the 10-yard line. "Everyone knows that Durant can kick the ball a good ways, but what's underrated is how incredible his hang time is," one scout said. "When you're trying to punt the ball inside the 20 it's all about hang time, and Durant does it better than anybody."