Kirk Ferentz has enjoyed getting to watch Tory Taylor’s development into an elite American football player. Originally from Australia, Taylor has turned into one of the best punters in the sport during his time in Iowa City.

On Tuesday, Taylor revealed he has plans to pursue the NFL after this season, meaning Saturday will be his final game in Kinnick Stadium. Asked about Taylor’s story, Ferentz admitted it is unusual but also said it “puts a smile” on his face while reminiscing about how naive Taylor was to college football.

“His story is so unusual. It puts a smile on my face. Talking about the ills of college football, he was the anti-story of that,” said Ferentz. “He got here and I just remember pulling up to Purdue, there was nobody on the sidewalks, kind of weird. It was like a high school scrimmage. Big Ten game, there was nobody there… His first game ever and he was just so naive to American college football. It was kind of refreshing, actually.”


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Despite an international path to the Hawkeyes, Ferentz said Taylor is truly Americanized but also pointed to Taylor’s development through his practice habits. Previously just an athletic kicker, Ferentz now points to Taylor as a true craftsman of his abilities.

“He’s become Americanized, he’s part of the pack here. Just to watch his evolution. He was obviously talented there, had raw ability and talent,” Ferentz said. “The one thing about him this year that I’ll never forget is just the way he’s practiced. He’s a real craftsman now… Now, he has such clear focus and intent every time he’s out there at practice and he’s really practiced at a high level.

“It’s a real credit to him, he’s really learned how to be a really focused college football player. And he’s been a really strong team leader on top of that. He cares about his teammates deeply.”

As if there was any doubt, Ferentz was later asked about Taylor’s fan club, and the head coach admitted he’s a part of that club:

“I’m in that fan club, too, just so you know that,” said Ferentz with a smile.

It truly has been a remarkable journey for Taylor, and he should be in heavy contention for this year’s Ray Guy Award as the top punter in the nation. As for his future, he looks primed to be a special teams weapon in the NFL before long.