Will Monday has been booming the ball as Duke’s punter for the past four years. He now must prepare for one final game before the NFL Combine as he looks to leave a lasting impression on coaches and scouts heading into the NFL Draft.
“I think the key is just continuing to do what I’ve done over the past four years,” said Monday, who graduated from Flowery Branch High. “I’ve been pretty consistent and fortunate enough to have a great career at Duke, and I think the key is showing that I have the capability to keep that going and continue performing at the next level.”
Monday accepted an invitation last month to play in the 91st East-West Shrine Game on Jan. 23 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. He, along with 118 other college football seniors, will make the trip to the Sunshine State on Jan. 16.
“We spend a week down there just training, hanging out with the guys, getting to know the scouts and coaches that will be there and just start that relationship,” Monday said. “Then just preparing for the game and having fun really, just enjoying the experience and taking it all in.”
Monday, a three-year letterman at Flowery Branch, was the No. 1 rated punter coming out of high school in 2010, according to Scout.com. He was named team captain and MVP, as well as Region 8-AAAA Special Teams Player of the Year, his senior year.
At Duke, Monday was a four-time All-ACC selection (first team in 2012, second team in 2013 and third team in 2014 and 2015). During his senior year, he averaged 43.5 yards per punt and had 20 punts that went over 50 yards.
The sociology major also accepted an invitation earlier this week to the NFL Combine on Feb. 23-29 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Monday will be one of what is typically just 10 kickers and punters invited to the combine.
He will have the chance to get off 10-20 kicks on the field in front of all 32 teams, but there’s more to the combine than just the drills.
“It’s not just about those kicks,” Monday said. “It’s about the whole process. They’re going to judge everything that you’re doing the whole time that you’re there, and they’re putting you in situations to see how you respond, but I think the key is just remaining myself and taking everything one step at a time and continuing to do what I’ve done for the past 4 1/2 years.”
There have been 29 punters taken in the NFL Draft since 2001, the most recent being Clemson’s Bradley Pinion, who was selected in the fifth-round by the 49ers last year. This past season, two rookie punters (Pinion and Matt Darr) started for NFL teams
According to CBS Sports, Monday is the No. 3 punter prospect behind two-time Ray Guy award winner Tom Hackett out of Utah and fellow East-West Shrine Game participant Drew Kaser of Texas A&M.
“I’ve heard that potentially this could be a big year for rookie punters and punters to get drafted,” Monday said. “But you never know. At the end of the day, it comes down to who needs a punter, who wants a punter to come in and start as a rookie and how many quality punters there are out there. So take it with a grain of salt, and just continue to perform and show what you can do and then God will take care of the rest.”