Why Gus Malzahn scoured Australian rules football to find next Auburn punter

AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn tends to stick to its Alabama-Georgia-Florida pipeline in recruiting.

Those are the three states the Tigers are generally fixtures in, including during the 2018 cycle. Once again, those states were the focal point. Auburn signed nine from Alabama, eight from Georgia and six from Florida. That quick math adds up to 23 prospects, which is one short of the 24 total the Tigers inked in the 2018 class.

Auburn went a much different direction to find 25-year-old former professional athlete Arryn Siposs.

“And we signed one from Australia — and I did not make an inhome visit to that one,” Malzahn joked after National Signing Signing Day.

RELATED: Siposs breaks down initial interest in Auburn | Official visit recap

Yes, Australia isn’t a part of Auburn’s typical recruiting territory.

But it has become a fertile recruiting ground for one position group: punters.

Gus Malzahn saw the Ray Guy Award success among Australian punters the last five years. With the Tigers’ punting struggles in 2017, Auburn wanted to avoid those concerns going forward. The Prokick Australia punting program — responsible for the last five Ray Guy Award winners — seemed like the perfect place to search for the Tigers’ next punter.

What Malzahn found was a former Australian rules football professional who will bring an athleticism and toughness rarely seen by punters in American football.

“They sent film over, and I watched some Australian rules football games, to be honest with you. I watched him play two games, which I don’t know all the rules to it, but you can tell whether a guy is a competitor. He’s a great athlete. He can kick it with his right foot or his left foot. He’s going to give us a lot of flexibility with our punt team, and then he has some film of when he was punting with the jugs machine,” Malzahn said. “He’s got a super leg. And then you get a chance to meet him. Like I said, he came on an official visit, and when you matched up the Australian rules football with the video that we saw, I think he’s got a chance to really help us.”

A few glances at Siposs’ film shows a guy who isn’t afraid of contact.

You see him — in between punting it 50 yards on a dime while in full sprint — catching passes and bumping bodies with the other grown men in the Australian Football League. One source within the program has already made a comment about the rare fake-punt abilities Siposs will bring to an American football field.

Siposs will bring an actual football toughness to the Auburn program, something punters don’t usually provide.

“I think he’s got a chance to be [the toughest punter Malzahn’s coached]. I mean, he looks like it,” Malzahn said. “Tell you what, I would bet he’s not going to be scared to tackle, because he’s been tackling without pads on. So I bet he’ll tackle somebody. … And then the standpoint, like I said, I watched him in professional games, you know. It was pretty impressive with his competitiveness.”

The post Why Gus Malzahn scoured Australian rules football to find next Auburn punter appeared first on SEC Country.

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