Punter Faddoul earns AP All-America first team
By St. Clair Murraine
Outlook staff writer
As punter Chris Faddoul was flipping the field on FAMU’s opponents, he didn’t think of his work as anything more than taking care of his responsibilities on special teams.
All the time, since the season began, he worked his way to being the leading punter in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. In fact, all of FCS for the entire season to set a school record along the way.
He got his reward two week ago when the Associated Press named him first team FCS All-America. He becomes the first FAMU football player to earn first team AP All America honors since return specialist Leroy Vann in 2009.
The accolade surprised Faddoul, despite having a remarkable season.
“I just see all these (social media) posts and accolades, but it hasn’t hit me yet,” Faddoul said a few days after the honor was announced. “Later down the road I’m going to look back and say, ‘wow, I really did that.’ It’s kind of cool.”
A lot of hard work went into what Faddoul has accomplished. From Day One, the sophomore punter put himself in position to win the job outright, said assistant coach Clifford Henry, who works with punters and kickers.
“He brought the work ethic and we just tried to fine tune those skills,” Henry said. “We knew he had the ability and he has worked himself into position to be able to win the first-team All-America punter.
“We knew early on he had great ability and we just worked to fit the scheme and make sure that we could highlight his best attributes and feature him in a way to highlight his ability.”
Faddoul averaged a school record 46.8 yards per kick on 41 attempts during the season. His average surpassed the previous FAMU season high of 45.9 set in 2005 by first team All-America Wesley Taylor.
Faddoul’s average was ranked in the top 20 in all of college football, including BCS punters.
“I was shocked to see I up there with them,” he said. “It just means I can perform with the top level. But I don’t see it as any difference. I just punt the ball. I don’t look at it as if I’m competing with another person. It’s just a ball on the field. I’m just doing my job and whatever happens, happens.”
The success that Faddoul is experiencing has been work in progress going back to his grade-school days. His parents enrolled him in youth soccer and by the time he reached high school he was playing both sports.
It was a grueling schedule that required him to drive 30 minutes to soccer practice each day, following football.
That started a work ethic that hasn’t waned. But it comes at a price that he is obviously willing to pay.
“It’s hard,” he said. “All now my ankles are popping. My back hurts (and) I feel like an old man.”
Faddoul acknowledged that none of what he has achieved this season would have been possible without a solid coverage team and long snapper Chris Mastramico.
“Most of this award goes out to the punt team,” he said. “My long snapper doesn’t get any credit at all (but) I can’t get those punts off if I don’t get a good snap. We have a good connection and he is fast, too. He is a great coverage guy too.”