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Jordan Stout Prepared For Role As Special Teams ‘Combo Guy’

When Jordan Stout nailed a program-record 57-yard field goal during Penn State football’s victory over Pitt last fall, Nittany Lions fans knew they had something special.

The then-redshirt sophomore also managed to hit a 53-yarder in his first game as a Nittany Lion against Idaho and finished the season with 66 touchbacks on 83 kickoff attempts.

As if his 2019 campaign wasn’t impressive enough, he’ll likely now be relied upon as Penn State’s punter this season. With four-year star Blake Gillikin graduated and off to the NFL, Stout was listed as the starter on Penn State’s spring depth chart this past April.

The Virginia native explained that he didn’t pick up football until his sophomore year of high school, but he’s trained as a kicker and punter since he started.

“I pride myself as a combo guy — kicking [field goals], punting, kicking off, and holding this year too,” Stout said. “My goal is to make it to the NFL. So I think the best way I can do that is do exactly what I’m doing now…Just to show NFL teams what I can do.”

Stout clearly has plenty of confidence in himself, and his coaches don’t seem to doubt him either. Second-year special teams coordinator Joe Lorig will certainly miss Gillikin, but he explained in April Stout has the ability to step into his role.

“I don’t think there will be any question as to whether Jordan is good enough to fill in for Blake,” Lorig said. “Obviously Blake was fantastic, that’s nothing to minimize his value, I just think Jordan’s that good also.”

Lorig arrived in Happy Valley in February 2019, so he and Stout both experienced Penn State for the first time last season. The former Memphis coach’s first campaign was about as a good as you can ask for from a first-year coach. Stout’s 2019 numbers speak for themselves, while Jake Pinegar hit 11 of his 12 field goal attempts and totaled 89 points for the Nittany Lions, and Gillikin averaged 42.2 yards per punt.

With that successful campaign under his belt, Stout feels Lorig’s group will only improve in 2020. He believes the continued success will be because of the coach’s productive, sometimes unique approach.

“I’ve been around a lot of coaches, and thus far Coach Lorig is the best I’ve been around when it comes to special teams,” Stout said. “He’s hard on us at times, but he’s hard on us at the right time. Let’s say I miss a kick in practice, he doesn’t yell at me, he comes up to me and says ‘What did you do wrong, what can you do better?’

“I feel like a lot of special teams coaches don’t do that…The way Coach Lorig coaches is best-suited for me and the way I play,” Stout added.

Lorig’s approach was clearly effective for Stout, as he immediately made an impact for the Nittany Lions in 2019. After a career at Virginia Tech in which he feels he “didn’t get the opportunity he deserved,” the young “combo guy” seems pleased with his decision to come to Penn State.

As the expectations continue to climb for Stout entering the uncertain 2020 season, he looks back at that 57-yard bomb early last season as a moment when things started to come together for him in Happy Valley.

“During all of the offseason I told the coaches that I’m capable of making long field goals,” Stout said. “During the Pitt game, [right before] halftime, I went up to Coach and said, ‘Hey, let me kick this.’ He let me and after that happened, I feel like that really boosted their confidence.

“I’m just so thankful that they gave me the opportunity, because it’s not like that everywhere,” Stout added.

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About the Author

Will Pegler

Will is a junior majoring in digital and print journalism and is Onward State's sports editor. He is from Darien, Connecticut and is a lifelong Penn State football fan. He loves a good 80's comedy movie, 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]om

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