Countdown 2007: Websider Impact Players - #25

Countdown 2007: Websider Impact Players - #25

Aggie Websider takes a look at 25 players who can make the biggest impact for the Aggies this year. These rankings are not based on talent, but rather, what contributions can be made by individuals to put Texas A&M back among the nation's elite programs.

The Aggies haven't had a dominant punter since NFL All-Pro Shane Lechler, but that's no longer the case with the emergence of Justin Brantly. The junior punter from Sealy, Texas doesn't get same notoriety for his booming punts and ability to pin opponents deep in their own territory, but with another solid year in 2007, the Ray Guy Award watch lister could be a key component to the Aggies' ability to put the Texas A&M program back into the nation's elite.

What he's done so far

As a freshman in 2005, Brantly averaged an A&M freshman record 43.2 yards per kick on 46 punts, which broke Lechler's record, and set the Folsom Field record with an 80-yard punt at Colorado. He kicked seven punts in that game and averaged 48.1 yards per kick. Nearly 22 percent of his punts (10 of 46) were downed or fair caught inside the opponents' 20-yard line.

His efforts earned Freshman All-American honors from SportingNews.com.

Last year, Brantly improved on his Freshman All-American effort, averaging 45.3 yards on 47 punts, which ranked No. 4 nationally and earned him second-team All-Big 12 honors. Brantly boomed 21 of his 47 punts (45 percent) 50 yards or longer and had at least one punt of 50 yards or more in every game.

He also improved his ability to pin opponents deep, with 14 of 47 punts (30 percent) downed or fair caught inside the opponents' 20-yard line. Brantly enters the season with a career average of 44.3 yards per kick, which ranks just behind Lechler's school record of 44.7 yards.

Why He's important

With a ball control offense like the Aggies run, field position is critical. Justin Brantly is one of the top five punters in the country this year, and booming punts could be crucial plays for the Aggies, especially on the road.

If the offense can milk the clock and put enough points on the board, pinning opponents deep in their own territory late in the ball game could be the difference between winning and losing.



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