Kyle Larson was one of the nation's best punters in 2003. He finished his third season as Nebraska's starting punter as one of three finalists for the Ray Guy Award, after being a semifinalist for the award as a junior. Larson earned first-team All-America honors from the American Football Coaches Association and was a consensus first-team All-Big 12 selection. He was also named one of three finalists for the inaugural Bobby Bowden Award, which was initiated by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and honors the college football player who "best epitomizes the term student-athlete."
Along with his success on the field, Larson was a three-time second-team academic All-Big 12 selection and earned his bachelor's degree in business administration from Nebraska in May of 2004.
The Funk, Neb., native set a Nebraska single-season record by averaging 45.12 yards per punt in 2003, surpassing the previous mark of or 44.98 yards per punt set by Dan Hadenfeldt in 1999. Larson finished seventh nationally in punting average and keyed the Huskers to a No. 9 national ranking in net punting.
Larson was even better in the season's final six games, averaging 48.5 yards per punt and booming 16 punts of 50 yards or more in that stretch. Against Texas, Larson averaged a staggering 54.4 yards on eight punts, including a career-long 80-yarder, which was the second-longest punt in school history.
Earlier in the season, Larson averaged 47.6 yards on seven punts at Southern Miss, including two punts of more than 60 yards, to earn Big 12 Special Teams Player-of-the-Week honors for the third time in his career.
Larson, who signed an NFL free agent contract with the Cincinnati Bengals following the 2004 NFL Draft, pinned opponents inside their own 20-yard line on 22 of his 62 punts in 2003.
In his career, Larson averaged 43.7 yards per punt on 195 punts to rank second on the Nebraska career punting average charts. As a sophomore he averaged 42.5 yards per punt, before averaging 43.2 yards as a junior. He averaged 45.1 yards as a senior and served as NU's special teams captain three times in 2003.
Larson averaged 43.23 yards on a school-record 73 punts as a junior. His average ranked 11th nationally and was the sixth-best single-season average in school history. His strong leg and excellent hang time helped Nebraska rank fifth nationally in net punting at 38.2 yards per attempt.
He showed excellent consistency throughout the season, hitting 46 of his 73 punts for 40 yards or more. He pinned opponents inside the 20-yard line 23 times and averaged better than 45 yards in half of Nebraska?s 14 games in 2002.
Larson averaged better than 40 yards in each of Nebraska?s first two games ? victories over Arizona State and Troy State. He pinned the Trojans inside their own 20 three times and had a 57-yard punt in the 31-16 Husker victory. Larson turned in one of the top punting days in school history against Utah State, hitting four punts for a 57.3-yard average, just off Hadenfeldt?s school record for single-game average. Included in Larson?s performance was a career-long 71-yard punt. For his efforts, Larson was Nebraska?s nominee for Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week.
He was again NU?s nominee for Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week after averaging 46.8 yards on six punts at Penn State. He also pinned the Nittany Lions inside their own 10 twice. Larson punted five times for a 47.2-yard average at Iowa State and pinned the Cyclones inside their own 20 on two occasions.
Larson had his lightest work day of the year against McNeese State, punting twice in NU's 38-14 victory. Larson averaged 37.7 yards on six punts at Oklahoma State and pinned the Cowboys inside their 20 three times.
Larson made the most of his two punting attempts against Texas A&M, averaging 50.5 yards, including a 56-yard boot. He did have a punt blocked for the first time in 2002, which the Aggies returned 12 yards for a touchdown. He had one of his top nights of the season against Texas, punting four times for a 45.5-yard average. He pinned the Longhorns inside their own 20 twice, including one punt downed at the 2-yard line.
Against Kansas, Larson shined in a duel with fellow Ray Guy semifinalist Curtis Ansel. He averaged 50.2 yards on six punts in a 45-7 win, and had four punts of 50 yards or more. Larson pinned KU inside its 20 twice, including once at the Jayhawk 1-yard line (season best).
Against Kansas State, Larson punted a season-high eight times for a 40.4 average, and placed two punts inside the 20. He also had a punt blocked which the Wildcats recovered for a touchdown. He closed the regular season by averaging 42.3 yards on seven punts against Colorado. Larson placed three of his six punts inside the 20 against Ole Miss in the Independence Bowl, with an average of 43.8 yards, including a 58-yard boot. In addition to his on-field accomplishments in 2002, Larson was a second-team academic All-Big 12 selection.
In his first season as Nebraska?s starting punter, Larson emerged as one of the Big 12 Conference?s top punters, averaging 42.52 yards per punt to rank fifth in the league. He captured third-team All-Big 12 honors from the league coaches and earned second-team academic all-conference honors in the classroom. Larson?s average ranked among the top 30 in the country and ninth on NU?s single-season chart.
He buried opponents inside the 20-yard line 21 times in 56 punts, while booting 16 punts of 50 yards or more. Larson?s effectiveness was the crucial element to a Nebraska punting unit that had a 38.34-yard net average. He also keyed a special teams squad that helped the Huskers enjoy a 9.6-yard advantage in starting field position on the year.
Larson quickly showed his ability, averaging 48.6 yards on eight punts against TCU in his first career start. Each of his first five punts pinned the Horned Frogs inside their own 20, and for his efforts, Larson was named the Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week.
He continued his strong start by averaging 49.5 yards on two punts against Troy State, then punted six times against No. 17 Notre Dame, including back-to-back kicks that pinned the Irish inside their own 20-yard line. Larson punted four times for a total of 154 yards against Rice, including consecutive punts of 51 and 52 yards.
Larson had a season-best day at Missouri, averaging 49.7 yards on three punts, including the third-longest punt of his career with a 60 yarder. He averaged 39 yards on two punts in the Huskers? victory over Iowa State, and limited the Cyclones to five total return yards. Larson averaged 42.5 yards on four punts and allowed only 20 return yards in the rain at Baylor. He punted five times for 224 yards against Texas Tech, including back-to-back punts of 51 and 52 yards.
Larson shined on the biggest stage of the season in a showdown with Oklahoma in Lincoln. He was named Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week for the second time in 2001 after a strong performance in NU?s win over the Sooners. Although he averaged just 38.2 yards on a career-high 10 punts, he pinned OU inside its 20 five times in the 20-10 defensive struggle. He also booted a season-best 68-yard punt in the third quarter.
At Kansas, Larson averaged 39.8 yards per punt and landed his last three punts inside the KU 20. Larson punted three times for a total of 113 yards against Kansas State. Larson punted four times for a 45-yard average at Colorado, including landing one inside the Buffaloes? 20-yard line. In the 2002 Rose Bowl vs. Miami, Larson punted five times for 203 yards, a 40.6 average, including a 55-yarder.
2000 (Redshirt Freshman)
Larson did not see game action in 2000 behind starter Dan Hadenfeldt.
A former walk-on, Larson redshirted in 1999.
Before Nebraska (Kearney HS)
Larson averaged a state-best 46.5 yards per punt as a senior and more than 40 yards per punt in his high school career. He also played center and linebacker for Kearney High. He earned first-team all-state honors as a punter in 1998 and lettered four times in track, throwing the shot (57-6 best) and discus (183-1).
The son of Steve and Mardell Larson, Kyle was born on Sept. 2, 1980. Larson earned his bachelor's degree from Nebraska in May of 2004, after majoring in business administration. He earned second-team academic All-Big 12 honors on three occasions and was a seven-time member of the Big 12 Commissioner's Academic Honor Roll. Larson was a three-time member of the Husker Unity Council.
Larson's Career Statistics