Miami Hurricanes special teams intact with Lou Hedley return

Aug 24, 2019; Orlando, FL, USA;Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 24, 2019; Orlando, FL, USA;Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

Miami Hurricanes punter Lou Hedley announced via an elaborate Instagram video he will return for his fourth season in 2022. Hedley finished 24th nationally this season averaging 44.94 yards per punt. Miami has stabilized their putting with Hedley over the last four years after inconsistent before he arrived in Coral Gables.

Hedley posted on December 18 on Instagram that he would return to Miami with 10,000 likes to his post. That post currently has over 13,000 likes. In 2020, Hedley was a Ray Guy Award finalist honoring the best punter in college football, named Second Team All-ACC and second-team All-America by the Associated Press.

Hedley repeated his second-team All-ACC selection in 2021. Guard D.J. Scaife and wide receiver Charleston Rambo were the only other Miami Hurricanes players named All-ACC in 2021. Several others were named honorable mention All-ACC. The Miami special teams have improved significantly in the last few years.

Miami will return their key players on special teams in 2022. Freshman kicker Andres Borregales made all 45 of his extra-point attempts and 17 of 21 field goals in 2021. Miami used a committee to return kickoffs in 2021. Freshman wide receiver Brashard Smith returned eight kickoffs for 146 yards and an 18.3 average.

Second-year freshman WR Xavier Restrepo led Miami with a 25 yard average with four kickoff returns for 100 yards. Wide receivers Mike Harley and Keyshawn Smith and defensive back Amari Carter each had one of the other three Miami kickoff returns in 2021.

Cornerback Tyrique Stevenson and WR Jacolby George split the punt returns. George led Miami with 13 punt returns for 142 yards and a 10.9-yard average. Stevenson is still deciding if he will return in 2022. Stevenson had seven punt returns for 67 yards and a 9.6-yard average. George was 11th nationally in punt returns.

Miami needs to improve on kickoff returns. The Hurricanes finished 65th nationally averaging 20.4 yards per return. Miami went another year without a kickoff return for a touchdown. Hedley has aided the Miami defense with his punting. The Hurricanes need an entire effort from special teams to improve field position.

Hedley had 19 punts inside the 20 for 40.4 percent. With one final season with Miami, Hedley can make another run at the Ray Guy award and earn other All-American recognition. Hedley has a chance to become the greatest punter in Miami history. The 45.1 yard average for Hedley is the most for a Miami punter with more than one year.

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Hedley will also finish his Miami career in the top five in punts and punting yards. Punters are not usually celebrated like Hedley. Hedley became nationally recognized when he signed with Miami because of his age, being from Australia and tattoos covering his body. Hedley’s return helps the Miami Hurricanes.