Ok, Ok, I know he’s a punter. But just hear me out.
Michael Palardy averaged 44.5 yards per punt last year and turned into a real weapon on special teams. He flipped the field all game long against South Carolina and pinned them deep in their own territory multiple times. The Vols will need someone to come in and pick up where Palardy left off.
Darr came in as the top-ranked punter in the country in 2010, but his career at Tennessee has been less than stellar. His current stat-line reads 56 punts for an average of 38.4 yards with only six going 50 yards or more. To put that into perspective, Palardy had 19 punts over 50 yards last season. Darr served as the backup punter in 2013 but never saw the field – that will certainly change this season.
Let me just say that if I had made this list last year, Darr doesn’t sniff it. Last fall his kicks were short, wobbly and had next to zero hang time. This spring, however, he looked like a completely different person. He was kicking fast, high, and long on a very consistent basis and looked like he was well on his way to being a more-than-solid punter in this league
I have to give credit to Darr and Butch Jones on this one. Jones chewed Darr up and spit him out multiple times in practice last year, but Darr never quit, he got better. Darr took the tough coaching and was one of the biggest surprises coming out of spring practice. I think Darr will have an excellent year punting for the Vols, which they will need early in the year as the offense gels.