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Bryce Baringer becomes first punter selected in 2023 NFL Draft

The draft’s best leg was selected in the sixth round.

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Bryce Baringer
© Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

Bryce Baringer was selected No. 192 overall by the New England Patriots. He was the first punter selected in the draft.

The call finally came at pick No. 192 for Bryce Baringer. The gunpowder-infused leg of Baringer will be in Foxborough for the foreseeable future.

Bryce Baringer was a Ray Guy Award finalist last season, setting the school record for punt average. He was also honored as a first-team All-Big Ten and a first-team All-American. Outside of Keon Coleman and fellow draftee Jayden Reed, Baringer was the most explosive Spartan last season.

His story is well documented. Baringer walked on to the Illinois football team before transferring to Michigan State. Originally, Baringer did not make the team. Following an injury on a punt that did not even count to Jake Hartbarger, Baringer got his first chance on the team. Tyler Hunt, another draft hopeful (but now at tight end), got the first shot at the job. Hunt tore an ACL in practice a few weeks later, letting Bryce Baringer and now-Nebraska punter William Pryztup battle for the job. Baringer was unimpressive in his chances and was cut from the team following walk-on tryouts in 2019. He worked on his craft, coming back in 2020 and earning a roster spot, and a scholarship in 2021. The rest, as we know, is history.

Today, his dream came true. Bryce Baringer is a draft pick, and will get to play with tutelage from a Hall of Fame coach in Bill Belichick. Additionally, he will learn from future Hall of Fame special teamer Matthew Slater. In my opinion, this is truly a perfect match for Bryce Baringer.

His competition will be Corliss Waitman, a punter with 103 career punts in the NFL. The Belgian punter is from South Alabama and averages 46.9 yards per punt, with a career-long of 63 yards. Baringer averaged 46.0 yards per punt for his career, and 49.0 yards per punt last year. This will be an interesting competition to watch this fall, and I will give the edge to Baringer.

Michigan State Media and Information Management Class of '22. Emmett covers primarily football, recruiting, and basketball for Spartan Shadows. He has also written for Spartan Avenue, Basic Blues, and Hail WV.

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