2018 NFL Draft

Herd punter makes national headlines with 92-yarder

By GRANT TRAYLOR

HUNTINGTON – Marshall University senior punter/kicker Kaare Vedvik is a pretty even-keel guy who likes to do his job without much fanfare.

In the world of a football specialist, you normally have one particular focus and it is assumed you will complete that task. Normally, the only time headlines are made is when something goes wrong, which is why Vedvik doesn’t like making headlines.

That all changed Saturday when Vedvik unleashed a 92-yard punt that became a Marshall record and the 7th-longest punt in FBS history – a feat that made Vedvik the easy choice for Conference USA Special Teams Player of the Week.

Instantly, clips of the punt made their way to social media and Vedvik’s feat went national with many outlets picking it up.

The most notable national sports media personality to pick it up was Pat McAfee, also one of the most widely-known punters in NFL history.

When Marshall’s sports information office put out a tweet announcing the 92-yard punt McAfee immediately picked up on it and offered his own Twitter response @PatMcAfeeShow.

It quickly became “The Punt Heard ‘Round The World”, thanks to the social media boom, which has never been in existence for a 90-yard punt before.

In three days, McAfee’s tweet had garnered 970 retweets and 7,613 likes – and counting. Videos from Yahoo and other media outlets also brought in plenty of national attention.

Although Vedvik isn’t big on the notoriety, he said Monday that seeing the video and response to McAfee’s tweet was fun.

“It’s pretty cool,” Vedvik said. “I have this relationship with social media that I don’t let it affect me in any type of way, ever, so I kind of feel indifferent to it, but it is cool to see it go viral like that. It’s a nice feeling.”

The punt traveled 92 yards officially, making it the longest punt in college football in 45 years – since Southern Miss punter Ray Guy bombed a 93-yard punt against Ole Miss in 1972. The annual award for the best collegiate punter is known as the Ray Guy Award, so that tells you the company Vedvik is in.

Don’t expect Vedvik to get caught up in all the hype, though.

“I don’t really think about all that stuff like it’s anything crazy, to be honest,” Vedvik said. “I punted a good ball and it went really far. I think if you go back and see the field, you’ll probably just see me running off the field like it’s a normal punt. It’s just what I do.”

While Vedvik is a bit more subdued when it comes to the attention and even celebration, McAfee is more of the social butterfly that draws people in.

McAfee was one of the NFL’s top punters and personalities from the time he was drafted out of West Virginia University in 2009 until he announced his retirement in February to use his personality in sports media with Barstool Sports.

During his time with the sports blog Barstool Sports, McAfee has tried to bring attention to solid play out of kicking specialists by establishing a coin phrase of “Good for the Brand,” that Vedvik fell in line with Saturday.

Vedvik said there is a strong bond between kicking specialists nationwide and McAfee’s efforts to promote them is a benefit for a group that feels like its own fraternity.

“It definitely feels like that, especially when we travel around and meet each other,” Vedvik said. “Specialists, we always have a close, good relationship with each other, so Pat McAfee establishing the ‘Good for the Brand’ thing is awesome and I think it’s something everyone is jumping on. It’s pretty fun.”

It’s actually fitting in many ways that Vedvik became associated in some way with McAfee’s concept because, if you look back at McAfee’s college career, there are many similarities between their paths.

Like Vedvik does for the Herd, McAfee handled all three kicking duties while at West Virginia, serving as the team’s kicker, punter and kickoff specialist. McAfee is West Virginia’s all-time record holder for scoring with 384 points during his career and in 2008 he was named as an AFCA All-American.

Adding to the correlation is that McAfee broke WVU’s scoring record when he hit a field goal during a 27-3 win over Marshall on Sept. 27, 2008.

And one guess who had a major hand in West Virginia’s special teams, among many other duties, during that 2008 season. None other than current Marshall head coach Doc Holliday.

Vedvik responded to McAfee’s tweet following Saturday’s game with a simple tweet: “All about the brand.”

In that moment, they were linked.

Two guys who know little of each other, but were brought together on Saturday by one massive 92-yard punt and a craft which has become their passion.

Vedvik said he models himself after some of the NFL greats and quickly named McAfee as part of that mix.

“When you see guys like Johnny Hekker and Pat McAfee being so great at what they do, that’s a ceiling I want to get to,” Vedvik said.

Vedvik made a nice introduction for himself into the fraternity of punters and kickers over the weekend with a punt whose record will likely stand a long time. And even though Vedvik isn’t big on speaking to his own accomplishments, chances are it will be a conversation piece for years to come.

Who knows? Maybe Vedvik and McAfee will even get some hang time out of it soon.

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