Punters are football players too and, as such, they can be considered for additional eligibility as well.
Thursday on that front, Indiana announced that the NCAA has granted Haydon Whitehead a sixth season of eligibility. Because of that, Whitehead, who is set to graduate from IU next month, will return to Bloomington and play for the Hoosiers in 2020.
“Huge news for us,” head coach Tom Allen said in a statement. “We were expecting that, but you never know until you get the official word. That’s very important for us to have him.
“The year he’s having, not just a great job as a punter – from a technical perspective and execution – but just his leadership and his work ethic, the way he does everything every day is just a huge part of the culture that we’re building.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever had a specialist work at his level. (Nathanael) Snyder is probably a close second. Two guys who have physically worked in that weight room and it affects everyone in that weight room. Haydon continues to be part of what we’re building here.”
In his third year as the Hoosiers’ starting punter, Whitehead has, per the school, landed an FBS-high 36.1 percent (13-of-36) of his punts inside the 10-yard line this year. The native of Australia has averaged 40.7 yards per punt during his time at the Big Ten school, including a career-high 41.9 ypp in 2019.