Male Husker Athlete of the Year: Sam Koch

2006-06-23T19:00:00Z Male Husker Athlete of the Year: Sam KochSTEVEN M. SIPPLE / Lincoln Journal Star

For Sam Koch, life’s moving at the speed of a charging punt blocker.

The past few months have been a whirlwind of activity.

On April 30, Koch was selected by Baltimore in the sixth round of the NFL Draft, becoming the first-ever Nebraska punter to be drafted. Two weeks later, Koch began his professional career by taking part in the Ravens’ offseason training activities.

Meanwhile, Koch and his fiancee, Nikki, celebrated the May 8 arrival of son Kamdyn.

“Everything’s going good,” Koch said.

Oh, and one other bit of good news for Koch: He’s been honored as the Journal Star’s 2005-06 male Husker of the Year.

“Wow, that’s awesome,” Koch said. “I guess I never would’ve figured it, especially being a punter.”

 The low-key Koch was a key figure in leading Nebraska to an 8-4 record last season. The Seward native shattered the school’s single-season record with his average of 46.51 yards per punt. He placed 29 punts inside the opponent’s 20-yard line and didn’t have a punt blocked.

His average ranked second nationally and led Nebraska to a No. 2 ranking in net punting.

Although Koch was passed over for all-Big 12 honors by both league writers and coaches, he was the first punter selected in the NFL Draft. When the Ravens’ training camp opens July 27, he’ll compete for the starting job against seven-year NFL veteran Leo Araquz, an offseason free-agent signee.

“I’m feeling pretty positive,” Koch said.

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Steven M. Sipple | Lincoln Journal Star

Steven, a lifelong Nebraskan, newspaper enthusiast and UNL grad, joined the Journal Star in 1990 and has covered NU football since 1995.

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Ken grew up in Chicago and is a Doane College grad. His Mr. Sportsknowitall column appears Sundays, and he covers a variety of beats.

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Brian graduated from UNL and has covered Husker football since the Solich years. He's in his seventh year as the NU football beat writer for the Journal Star.

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Ron Powell | Lincoln Journal Star

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