Young girls would sit in a circle all day staring just to hear his Australian accent. He may get more interview requests than any punter in the history of football. He ran like a 5-star running back for what should've been a 52-yard touchdown last season.
LSU sophomore All-American Brad Wing is without a doubt a "rock star" of college football, who likewise has more than 23,000 followers on Twitter. But that doesn't mean he can park anywhere he wants on campus.
"I actually got a ticket the other day," laughs Wing, "Which I'm not too happy with."
Which is the exact feeling LSU fans had for referees that afternoon of October 8th, when Wing turned the corner on the Florida Gators and sprinted into the end zone for a beautiful sabotage score. But he slightly raised his arms for a brief moment, looking a bit like a soaring bird at roughly the 8-yard line as he glanced back at the chasing Gators. The officials hit Wing with a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty and took the score off the board.
So how many Tiger fanatics have told Wing he got a raw deal?
"Almost every one," he continues to chuckle, "I don't think anyone thought it was fair. But the referees did. And it won't happen again."
Indeed, the 6'3, 184 pound Wing is on scholarship to punt and he obviously does that extremely well. Last season he averaged a booming 44.4 yards per punt, including a pivotal 73-yard bomb in that heart-stopping 9-6 overtime win at Alabama November 5. Wing was also huge in the SEC Championship win over Georgia, averaging 50.4 on eight boots. He placed 27 punts inside the 20-yard line during the season, including 13 inside the 10.
But like most of the Tigers, Wing didn't save his best performance for last. His effort against Alabama in the BCS Championship loss certainly is motivator for the 2012 season, even though he averaged 45.7 yards per punt in that 21-0 defeat.
"I think I shanked like three of them," Wing admits, "People say, ‘hey it was only three.' But for me, that's three too many. I wasn't happy."
Of the 59 punts he had a season ago, Wing says he wasn't happy with "10-15 of them". He adds that better consistency is the biggest area he hopes to improve the most.
"I don't think about pressure on my shoulders. I want to go out and improve upon what I did last year. If I improve on last year, all the accolades and things will follow. I'm just really concerned with taking care of business and getting this team to Miami."
And #38, a number now shared by another Australian native punter, true freshman Jamie Keehn, knows he has a very strong ally backing him up.
"I know if I can punt it to the 1-yard line, no one is going to take it 99-yards on Coach Chavis' defense."
LSU fans will gladly bet those odds as well.
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