ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – UNM Lobos punter Aaron Rodriguez had more punts than anyone in college football last season at 81. It got him plenty of playing time, but it was not good for the team. For the second consecutive year, the Lobos finished last in the nation in total offense.
Rodriguez believes the Lobos will show significant improvement on offense this year, limiting their need to have him punt the ball. That gave Rodriguez an opportunity to showcase his skills, and that is exactly what he did as he punted 81 times averaging nearly 45 yards per boot. Rodriguez’s 81 total punts led the nation for a second time.
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“I had to understand that we were going to end up punting a lot, and we did. I think that is a challenge in of itself is punting almost twice as much as any other guy out there. It takes a strain on your body as you go, but I took it as an opportunity. It gives me a chance. You know, I red-shirted my freshman year. It was COVID my second year. I didn’t play both of those years. So, that was my opportunity to get those reps back and show what I can do as a player,” said Rodriguez.
Rodriguez will go into 2023 as a preseason All-Mountain West selection. He’s also on the Ray Guy Award Watch List again. The Lobos currently have a pair of their former kicking specialist playing in the NFL with pro bowl kicker Jason Sanders handling extra points and field goals for the Miami Dolphins, and Corey Bojorquez taking care of the punting duties for the Cleveland Browns. Rodriguez is inspired by both of those players and has put in a hard-working offseason to help the Lobos, and his chances of going to the next level one day.
Rodriguez’s punts covered 3,578 yards last season which was the most in the nation.