Australian Punter Tory Taylor’s Hawkeye Arrival in Holding Pattern

June 24, 2020

Written by Rob Howe

Hawkeye Nation

IOWA CITY, Iowa – Tory Taylor would be at Iowa right now kicking off his college football career if not for the COVID-19 pandemic. Well, actually, he would be punting it off.

Taylor, a member of the 2020 Hawkeye recruiting class, is working out in his native Australia waiting for travel clearance. There is not set date for that to happen.

“I’m really not sure yet, as soon as possible really,” Taylor told HN on when he might arrive. “But if I could guess, I’d say the end of July, the start of August.”

There isn’t a travel ban, per se. However, more steps are needed due to coronavirus in order to get here from Australia and other foreign locations.

“The things that I need to do are not possible for another few weeks, unfortunately. There’s nothing I can do, so I don’t worry about it too much,” Taylor said.

Iowa basketball is dealing with a similar delay with one of its incoming freshman. Big man Josh Ogundele is stuck in London waiting to join his teammates. He and Taylor are working out, preparing for their arrival in Iowa City.

“We have been training three times a week,” Taylor said. “Gyms have literally just reopened (Sunday), so it will be good to get back into the swing of things in that regard.”

The Hawkeye staff is keeping him involved. He feels connected to the program from a distance.

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“I’ve really only kept in close contact with (special teams) coach (LeVar) Woods, and then coach (Broderick) Binns on the odd occasion. They’ve both been really good to me and are both people I know I can go to if any issues arise, not that there are many. It’s all pretty smooth sailing,” Taylor said.

Taylor has competed in Australian Rules football, which utilizes actions similar to punting. He has never played organized American football, however.

Iowa will replacing punter Michael Sleep-Dalton, who started last season after graduate transferring from Arizona State. Taylor is expected to be competing with Ryan Gersonde and Nick Phelps for the top job.

Taylor hails from the same Prokick Australia, which develops punters and kickers for US colleges, that produced Sleep-Dalton. Woods traveled to Melbourne last winter for a recruiting trip, when he met with Taylor. That meant a lot.

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“Having coach Woods come out was a great experience. I’m really excited to get to work with not just a great coach but a great person, too. He is a big family guy like me, so that was something I really appreciated about him. It certainly made my decision a lot more comfortable,” Taylor said back in March.

“It’s great knowing that you’re going somewhere where there are good people. I’m really grateful for coach Woods for coming out and meeting me and my family.”

While some people outside the program see Taylor sliding into the starting role, he understands that will be earned.

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“I’m really excited to get to compete and try and win the job. I’m a very competitive person and don’t like losing, so I’m excited for the competition that’s in front of me. I’m aware that the best punter will get the job and that I’m not walking into a place where it will be handed to me on a silver platter,” he said in March.

“I’m ready to work. Bring it on.”

Taylor isn’t planning on his delayed arrival handicapping his chances in the race.

“I would obviously much rather be there now competing and practicing, but unfortunately I can’t and that’s out of my control. I’m still punting here in Australia and we are all working hard to be ready to go as soon as we step foot on campus,” he said.

“You could say I’m at a slight disadvantage not being there while others are, but really, I know what I need to do to win the job, and I’m going to do everything I can to make sure of it.”

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