Utah’s Australian pipeline for punters is well established. Guys like Tom Hackett, Mitch Wishnowsky and Ben Lennon have made successful transitions from Down Under.
Now, the Utes are going in a different direction — at least when it comes to place-kicking duties. Freshman Jordan Noyes, from England, is giving incumbent Jadon Redding a battle for the job as camp progresses. Noyes is a walk-on recommended to the program by former Utah kicker Matt Gay, who is married to his cousin. Gay was an All-American and Lou Groza Award winner for the Utes.
“That was the connection. Matt was telling us about Jordan and giving us the info and telling us that he had a strong leg. It was really about that potential,” said Utah coach Kyle Whittingham. “And so he decided to come over and give it a go and he’s done really well so far. He’s got all the potential, really, of a big-time kicker, and maybe an NFL kicker. He’s got a stronger leg than Matt had actually and so he’s a guy with a lot of upside.”
Whittingham noted, however, there is some refining to be done, as well as some technique things he’s working on. The Utah coach is hopeful Noyes can realize his potential and get to the place where coaches think he can.
The 5-foot-10, 209-pound Noyes, who is from Higham, Kent, played American football, soccer and rugby in high school. He also competed in gymnastics.
Whittingham acknowledged that having Gay vouch for Noyes and even kicking with him led to the opportunity.
“Matt is a guy who knows the deal and knows what a good kicker looks like,” Whittingham said. “So we trust him.”
Aside from having a little trouble adjusting to shoulder pads and football pants, Whittingham noted that Noyes has gotten used to it. His range, higher trajectory and leg strength have worked in his favor.
Redding, he explained, is more polished and gets the ball off quicker at this point, and is a little more accurate.
The battle, Whittingham said, could — if needs be — continue all the way up to the Nov. 7 opener against Arizona.
“We’ve just got to make sure we get the right guy,” continued Whittingham, who pointed out that Redding actually entered last season as the backup. He earned the job midway through the first game, though, when Andrew Strauch struggled.
Redding wound up making 10 of 13 kicks in 2019.
“Jadon got his opportunity and made the most of it,” Whittingham said.