Joey Julius might be the most famous placekicker in college football. First, it was because he was crushing blockers. Now, for the second straight week, it’s because blockers are trying to crush back.
This time it’s Maryland’s Isaiah Davis who gets the boot after taking a cheap shot on Julius on a kickoff to start the second half. This was particularly dumb for a few reasons. First of all, it was after the whistle had blown and so it was clearly not in the flow of the play. Second, the flagrant personal foul penalty nullified what would have been excellent starting field position for the Terps because Julius junked up the kick.
One announcer in the clip suggests that Julius flopped a bit here, but come on. Look at a freeze frame of this before contact is made.
Not exactly bracing himself for impact here. Nor should he be.
Last week, it was Minnesota’s Jaylen Waters who hit Julius and cleared the benches between the two teams. Waters also was ejected for the hit. Either way, Nittany Lions folks are getting pretty sick of the way opponents are treating Julius.
I suppose I can see the motivation from special teams players in taking a crack at the 5-foot-10, 258-pound placekicker. He’s taking a much more active role in kickoffs and making plays out there. But those big hits actually happening in the run of play. These jokers taking cracks at the kicker are doing just that: taking cracks at a kicker for the sake of rattling his cage.
Julius is a great story for college football because he’s changing the way Penn State opponents have to prepare for kickoffs. All 11 are truly coming for the ball carrier. He’s also opening up an honest conversation about men who have eating disorders and body image issues. It’s a brave thing to do, especially in sports and college sports in particular. I hope he continues to crush dudes and his special teams folk legend grows.
Nothing wrong with playing a bit rough. Just keep it all above board, OK? That’s not what’s happened here the last two weeks.