May 19, 2024

The New Orleans Saints have reportedly secured Vanderbilt Commodores punter Matt Hayball as an undrafted free agent, as stated in a report by Tom Pelissero. Originally from Australia, Hayball began his collegiate career with the FAU Owls before transferring to Vanderbilt for his final two seasons.

Throughout his college tenure, Hayball boasted an impressive career average of 45.2 yards per punt across 289 punts, showcasing versatility by contributing 10 tackles and even carrying the ball on occasion for a total of 42 yards. Notably, his standout season in 2023 earned him recognition as a Second Team All-American and a finalist for the Ray Guy Award, in addition to being named First Team All-SEC.

Inside Matt Hayball's Quiet But Confident Stardom - VandySports

Hailing from ProKick Australia, Hayball emerged as an unranked recruit in the 2019 cycle, but quickly made his mark in the NCAA, particularly during his time at Vanderbilt where he faced numerous opportunities to punt due to offensive inconsistencies.

The Saints, coming off a 9-8 season and missing the playoffs, addressed their punting concerns by adding Hayball to their roster. His arrival is crucial given the shortcomings in punting performance during the previous season, with incumbent punter Lou Hedley averaging just 43 yards per punt, albeit excelling in placing 31 punts inside the 20-yard line.

Analysts like Lance Zierlein anticipate Hayball’s transition to the NFL, noting his ability to generate powerful kicks with good touch and consistency. However, they suggest he needs to focus on enhancing hang time to minimize return opportunities and compete effectively at the professional level.

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