Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Will Hagerup, #40

Maybe Will Hagerup's crowning achievement was getting this picture taken with Erin Andrews
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Coming out of Whitefish Bay (WI) Whitefish Bay, Hagerup was a Rivals 3-star, the #3 kicker, and the #10 player in the Badger State. He had offers from Arkansas, Florida, Ohio State, Tennessee, Wisconsin, and others before committing to the Wolverines in September of 2009. He then played in the 2010 U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

Hagerup was a hit right off the bat when he started as the punter during his freshman year in 2010. In Rich Rodriguez's final year, punting was not an issue. Hagerup averaged 43.6 yards/punt, landed a third of those attempts inside the 20-yard line, launched a career-long 72-yarder against Purdue, and averaged 61.4 yards/kickoff on 19 attempts. That punting average was the third-best average in school history, behind only Monte Robbins (1987) and Zoltan Mesko (2009). Hagerup took a step backward as a sophomore, averaging just 36.0 yards/punt. Then he took a leap forward as a junior in 2012, ending the season with a 45.0 yards/punt average, booming 13 of them 50+ yards, and earning the Big Ten Punter of the Year award. Unfortunately, he was suspended for the entirety of the 2013 season (more on that later). He decided to return for a fifth year in 2014, when he averaged 42.9 yards/punt, landing 16 of them inside the 20-yard line.

- 148 punts for 6,243 yards (42.2 yards/punt), 16 touchdowns, 24 fair catches, 35 inside the 20-yard line, 33 punts of 50+ yards, 1 blocked punt, and a long of 72 yards
- 19 kickoffs for 1,166 yards (61.4 yards/kick) and 1 touchback

2012: Eddleman-Fields Big Ten Punter of the Year, First Team All-Big Ten

After several years of watching Zoltan Mesko boom punts, Michigan was looking for their next stud at the position when Hagerup was recruited. It was a big deal when he chose Michigan over several other big-time programs, including his home-state Badgers. For various reasons, Hagerup never became the fan favorite and weapon that Mesko had been. One big reason was his inexplicably (or perhaps explicably) subpar 2011 season. Another reason is that Hagerup fell just short of Sebastian Janikowski for his off-the-field exploits, getting in trouble numerous times with both coaching staffs for whom he played. He was suspended for a game in 2010 under Rodriguez, four games under Hoke in 2011, another game in 2012, and the entire 2013 season. The only season in which he could control his behavior was his fifth-year campaign after taking the Darryl Stonum Memorial Mutually Agreed Upon Get Your Life in Order Redshirt. Another reason is that, despite the solid-to-great punting averages, he was never really a "coffin corner" punter nor a guy who could consistently deaden the football at the 2-yard line. Too many of his punts either bounced into the endzone or were returned capably.

In a game against OSU, no less.

Hagerup had the 29th-best punting average in FBS this past season, and CBS Sports currently has him ranked as the #16 punter in the NFL Draft. Over the past three seasons, there have been 2, 2, and 1 punters selected. I do not believe he will get drafted, and I don't think that his talent warrants a potential character risk for a guy who was suspended for a total of 19 games throughout his college career. Since there are so few punting jobs available (and punters can play for such a long time), there's not a huge need for practice-squad guys or replacements. If one punter or kicker gets injured/released, teams usually just find a retread lingering around. So this is probably the end of the road for his football career.


  1. Should read #16 "punter" in the NFL draft.

  2. lmao. That gif always makes me laugh. Thanks for the effort, Will, and don't get into trouble after you graduate from college.