By Rixon Lane
The star of South Carolina's special teams has been Elliott Fry, he of the 90% field goal success rate.
The goat has been anyone on the kickoff coverage unit, the group that has allowed nearly 30 yards per kick return and a pair of touchdowns against Vanderbilt.
In between these two extremes falls one player who is quietly having one of the best seasons ever for a Gamecock at his position.
There were 11 punters in the SEC who averaged at least 2.5 punts per game in 2013. Only Tyler Hull averaged less than 40 yards per kick. He was, statistically, the worst punter in the conference. Of his 46 punts, 15 were fair caught, only one traveled at least 50 yards, and 10 were downed inside the 20-yard line. He averaged 37.8 yards per punt.
This season, he's averaging 43.3 yards.
Hull's senior season is shaping up to be the best of his collegiate career. He's been called on to punt 19 times this year. He's already had one surpass the 50-yard plateau. Eight of his punts have resulted in fair catches. He has pinned opponents inside the 20 eight times already and the season has not yet hit the halfway point.
Not only is Hull having the season of his career, he is having one of the best ever for a Gamecock punter. At 43.3 yards per punt, he is on pace for the fourth-highest average in program history. He is currently one yard behind Daren Parker, who holds the school record with 44.3 yards per punt in 1989.
So, next time you sing the praises of Fry of lament the shortcomings of the coverage team, take a moment to quietly acknowledge Tyler Hull.
The man silently booting his way into the Gamecock record books.