Blake Gillikin A Viable Option As NFL Punter After Consistent Penn State Career

Blake Gillikin became an iconic special teamer during his time at Penn State, and he’ll now have a solid chance at being picked in this year’s NFL Draft thanks to his successful career.

The Georgia native started all of his four seasons in Happy Valley as the Nittany Lions’ punter and was named a team captain for both his junior and senior seasons. Gillikin attempted a total of 239 punts at Penn State and averaged a distance of 43 yards per attempt. That mark ties him for second on the Nittany Lions’ career-average list.

While there isn’t a whole lot of chatter about Gillikin among NFL analysts or in mock drafts, he could very well find himself drafted by a team in a late-round or signed as an undrafted free agent. CBS Sports has him ranked as the No. 604 player in this year’s draft pool, and the 11th-best punter.

Whether or not Gillikin is picked up on day three of the draft, there’s no arguing against the fact that he was a model of consistency throughout his time in the blue and white. He burst onto the scene as a freshman in 2016 by averaging 42.8 yards per punt, pinning teams inside their own 20-yard line on 22 occasions, and booting 13 punts over 50 yards.

Gillikin’s success during Penn State’s Big Ten Championship run was only the beginning, as he continued to work as a special teams weapon for James Franklin’s squad. Let alone from the fact that he developed some of the best flow in Penn State sports and was an unbelievable student, Gillikin rarely made a mistake when trying to flip field position or pin teams near their own end zone.

During his senior season, the punter averaged 42.2 yards per attempt and pinned opponents inside their own 20-yard line a career-high 32 times. One of Gillikin’s top performances came against Pitt, when six of his seven attempts landed inside the Panthers’ own 20-yard line. Gillikin’s success against Pitt is a great example of how much of a difference-maker he can be for a team’s defense, as Pat Narduzzi’s squad was consistently losing the field position battle and struggled to put together long drives.

Aside from his pinpoint accuracy, Gillikin also has NFL-caliber leg strength. He booted a total of 54 punts at least 50 yards over the course of his Nittany Lion career, including a career-high 74-yarder against Michigan during his junior season.

While it’s not certain that he’ll hear his name called during the draft, it’s likely that Gillikin will get a chance with an NFL team in some form. His overall career and stats speak for themselves, as leaves Penn State as one of the program’s most accomplished special teamers of all time.

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About the Author

Will Pegler

Will is a senior majoring in digital and print journalism and is an associate editor for Onward State. He is from Darien, Connecticut and is a lifelong Penn State football fan. He loves a good 80's comedy movie, Peaky Blinders, The Office, and the New York Yankees and Giants. You can catch some of his ridiculous sports takes on his Twitter @gritdude and yell at him on his email [email protected]

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