Most Kentucky football fans would describe Max Duffy as the greatest punter in UK history, maybe even the best punt to ever grace a college football field. The modest Aussie would say that his successor, Wilson Berry, might be even better.
“He’s as good, if not better than me,” Duffy said recently. “He is very good.”
While preparing for the NFL Draft, the 2019 Ray Guy Award Winner has spent time kicking in Lexington with Wilson and his older brother, Jordan. Jordan Berry never kicked at UK, but he is responsible for the Wildcats’ success with Australian punters. He was the first player Dean Hood brought state-side when Hood was the head coach at Eastern Kentucky University. A six-year vet with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Jordan Berry provided plenty of pointers over the last few months.
“Jordan’s taught me a lot, as you can imagine, and it’s great to be around someone that’s much better than me because it makes me better and hopefully for Wilson, he’s as good if not better than me. It’s great for him to be around his brother too on a more consistent basis so he can punt with him. It’s quite funny being the third wheel hearing Jordan yell at Wilson about what he should be doing better. I enjoy spending time with those guys,” Duffy said.
“Jordan’s been really, really helpful the whole time, the whole process, giving me footballs, giving me advice, talking about different things which he doesn’t have to do because obviously he’s competing for a job too. I can’t thank him enough.”
Duffy is trying to become the first player every drafted in the National Football League and the Australian Rules Football League (AFL). The last time he was selected by a professional team, he was filled with anxiousness and excitement. Five years later, Duffy knows how the business works. Frankly, it’s a crap shoot for punters.
“This time it’s like, I wouldn’t say ‘been there, done that,’ but it’s definitely exciting and it’s a really big achievement if I do get to live it out, but it’s also understanding that none of that really matters. All that really matters is controlling what I can, preparing the best I can and doing a good job. If teams like me, they like me. If they don’t, they don’t. I don’t really get too carried away in all the other stuff.”
Duffy wowed the Big Blue Nation as soon as he arrived on campus. He never completely bought into the hype and consistently downplayed his success. “You say modest. I say honest.” He will try to underpromise and overdeliver, but he will not give his successor that luxury.
“I’ll pump him up so all we can do is come down from there, just put pressure on him from the start, which is always good. But he is, he is very good. I haven’t been able to see any practices yet and obviously you never know until someone get s out on the field, but he’s very good. Like I’ve always said, and I think I’m being honest, not modest, you get some of these Australian guys over here that are better than me, you’ll see that the stuff that we do is a lot of scheme stuff. It’s helped us. I hope hew can win the (Ray Guy) award every year and help Kentucky out. I think he’s gonna be great,” Max said.
“I think he’s got a real level head. He prepares really well, which is always the most important thing. I think he’s going to do really well. Again, we won’t know till he’s out on the field, but he’ll be good.”