Recently being named ‘Special Teams MVP’ at the University of Miami Football Awards Show—Hedley has been a bright spot on a team that left much to be desired in 2019.
With an average of 44.3 yards per punt in the regular season, Hedley’s stats don’t exactly make him ‘stand out.’ However, his attitude and demeanor truly embody the spirit of Miami, despite not being a South Florida-native. Through this, Hedley was quickly beloved by the Hurricanes faithful—paying tribute to and praising Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson—calling him his “childhood hero.”
Despite his punts not always being ‘booming,’ Hedley was consistent—a far-cry from the lack of proficiency shown by Miami’s punters in 2018 when Zach Feagles and Jack Spicer were splitting the starting reps. As a sophomore, Feagles averaged 38.9 yards per punt, with Spicer averaging 37.1 yards.
Feagles announced that he would transfer from Miami before their embarrassing rematch-loss to Wisconsin in the 2018 Pinstripe Bowl. Spicer remains as the backup to Hedley and is the team’s primary holder for field goals.
What the averages don’t show are the amount ‘shanks’ that occurred throughout the 2018 season. The ‘misfires’ often derailed momentum and forced the ‘Canes defense into undesired situations. What Miami’s fans yearned for, was for a punter to do his job and flip the field—an area Hedley provided a massive boost in.
Ultimately, Miami still has a lot of areas to improve in. Consistency isn’t easy to come by on offense, defense, or special teams regarding place-kicking. Hedley also helped provide some great Jimmy Murphy moments—he was typically the first one to make it down the field in order to ‘down’ his punts.
Obviously, there are a lot of negatives to take away from the 2019 regular season, but recognizing growth in a certain field is important for a ‘rebuilding’ program. Regardless, Louis Hedley remains a bright spot on the team.