FAU punter Sean Kelly's 41.8 yards per punt is No. 48 in the nation. (Photo Courtesy of Owl Pix)
Punter is pleasant surprise
FAU freshman Sean Kelly is off to a good start as the Owls' punter.
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BOCA RATON – Looking for an MVP so far this season for Florida Atlantic?
There are some performers on offense and defense who are having fine individual seasons.
Quarterback Graham Wilbert has certainly exceeded expectations and on defense, linebacker David Hinds and defensive back Jeremy McKnight are both racking up tackles.
However the Owls' MVP so far this season could be punter Sean Kelly.
Kelly is averaging 41.8 yards per punt, good enough for 48th nationally and second in the Sun Belt Conference. A punter who can give the Owls good field position is invaluable to their young defense.
The best part is that Kelly, a true freshman from West Orange, is still learning. As a walk-on, Kelly didn't arrive until late in training camp and had to go through FAU's walk-on tryouts.
Since then, he has been impressive.
“The thing with Sean is that he takes coaching,” said FAU special teams coach Brett Diersen. “He understands what he need to get better at and works on it.
Kelly is not your typical punter. He was a quarterback at West Orange High School and one of the hardest workers in the weight room. When only Division II Catwaba offered him a scholarship, he decided to walk-on at FAU.
“I just worked all summer to earn my spot,” Kelly said. “It was a little nerve-wracking, not knowing what punters and kickers they had. I just wanted to come down and work my way in. I just wanted to earn the spot.”
Kelly has done that and more. Of his 27 punts, six have been inside the 20, but he only has one touchback.
"I'm just trying to do my job and help out the team,” Kelly said.
And the team has noticed, said Diersen, who also coaches the Owls' defensive line.
“The defense appreciates him,” Diersen said. “He works at it and I think the sky is the limit for him.”