While the Iowa Hawkeyes are in the thick of bowl preparation and the search for Brian Ferentz’s replacement as offensive coordinator, an unalienable truth remains in Iowa City: punting is winning.
Hawkeye fans have been incredibly spoiled the last several years as we enjoyed the booming punts pinned inside opponent 20s and 10s from Tory Taylor. Now, as the Ray Guy Award winner departs for the NFL, Iowa looks to move toward the future of fourth downs.
That looking has once again taken Iowa special teams coordinator LeVar Woods down under as the Hawkeyes picked up a commitment from another Aussie punter over the weekend. On Sunday, Melbourne native Rhys Dakin announced his commitment to the Hawkeyes.
Excited to announce my commitment to study and play football on a full scholarship at the university of iowa.— Rhys Dakin (@Rhys_dak1n) December 17, 2023
I would like to thank @ProkickAus @JohnnyPKA @tglees for coaching me. Thank you also to Coach @LeVarWoods for coming to visit me and my family. pic.twitter.com/ACfa4rDpKR
As was the case when Taylor committed to Iowa, very little was known about Dakin before the announcement. There had been rumblings swirling for months that Iowa would again head to Australia to fill the void left by Taylor. Those accelerated when the Hawkeyes didn’t make a meaningful push for the top-ranked US punter in the class of 2024 who happened to be from Iowa.
Now we know why. Dakin, a 19 year old from Melbourne, Victoria Australia, appears to be the real deal. While Taylor’s shoes are incredibly large and difficult to fill, the fellow Pro Kick Australia alum seems like he may be up to the task.
Highlight videos from Australia punters are hard to come by, but the videos that have surfaced are impressive. Dakin shows a big leg with some Ray Guy-esque hang time on his boomers.
As impressive as that appears, it actually gets better.
18-year-old up-&-comer goes big in warm ups. 50+ yards 5.24 hang pic.twitter.com/Dq2QbYOtc9— The Kicking Consultant (@JGrowler) June 12, 2023
For context, some of the best punters in the NFL average hang time in the 4.6-4.8 seconds range. Topping 5 seconds is a tall order.
Doing this? This is almost record-setting.
The distance and hang time have to have head coach Kirk Ferentz, as well as Woods, salivating at the opportunity to flip the field. The only thing missing at this point from the videos is any sort of indication of Dakin’s ability to pin opponents with his accuracy. His background at Pro Kick Australia and Woods’ track record recruiting the program, should give Iowa fans some confidence those abilities are there.
Here’s what the Mazenod College grad had to say in his statement on the commitment to Iowa:
“I am excited to announce my commitment to study and play football on a full scholarship at the University of Iowa. Firstly, I would like to thank Pro Kick Australia, John Smith, and Tim Gleeson for making this opportunity possible with their coaching and hard work behind the scenes. Thank you also to Coach LeVar Woods for believing in my ability and coming to visit my parents and I.
I would also like to thank the guys at Conquest Athletic Performance and The Hunt Strength & Conditioning for helping me along the way in my journey.
And finally, I would also like to thank my parents for your love and support and for also believing in me and for providing me with the opportunity to start punting in the first place.
With all that being said, I am excited to get to work.”
Here’s a bit more about Dakin and his background, in his own words.
The addition of Dakin on a full scholarship takes Iowa’s class of 2024 up to 21 total commitments. The early signing period opens on Wednesday with all 21 of those commitments expected to sign this week. Dakin is expected to enroll at Iowa in January participate in spring ball, putting him in a good spot to win the starting job as a true freshman next fall.
Welcome aboard Rhys Dakin!