Raiders punter AJ Cole putting together historic start to career

Las Vegas Raiders punter AJ Cole is the next in a long line of elite punters for the franchise.

New England Patriots v Las Vegas Raiders
New England Patriots v Las Vegas Raiders / Michael Owens/GettyImages
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Eleven years ago, Las Vegas Raiders punter AJ Cole, a high school senior at Woodward Academy in Georgia punted in a football game for the first time.

Today, he stands alone with the most yards per punt in NFL history (48.2 career average).

This is the story of Las Vegas Raiders captain AJ Cole. The once teenager who took the field as a kicker, a late blooming punter, occasional tight end, and sometimes defensive end, and who is now the best to play his position in the world.

Before his final season of high school football, he began learning how to punt. That summer, a few months into punting, he went to camp at North Carolina State to try out for the team. They were looking to scholarship a punter.

“I had never punted in a game before. So when I got home, they asked me for my hudl highlight tape, so they could watch it as a staff, and I had to tell them I had never punted in a game before, but I’d send them my tape after a couple games.”

One decade ago this month, after his first full season punting and with high school graduation looming, he officially signed with North Carolina State to continue his football career. In 14 months, he went from never punting in his life, to now earning a scholarship to punt balls for an NCAA Division 1 school.

In college he would start all four years, leaving as one of the best punters in school history, but even then, was he good enough for the NFL?

A scouting report on stated Cole “lacks consistent leg strength and touch to bury opponents near the end zone.”