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Manny Diaz on new punter: Let’s get him in on every coin toss

“It’s hard to shock someone at Miami. I think he’ll fit in fine here,” the coach says of the tattooed, Aussie internet sensation.
Miami fans are more than happy to welcome Louis Hedley to the U. [Photo from Twitter]
Miami fans are more than happy to welcome Louis Hedley to the U. [Photo from Twitter]
Published Feb. 6, 2019|Updated Feb. 6, 2019

MIAMI — Late Tuesday night (Australian time), Miami signed its most heavily decorated recruit.

Louis Hedley is the top-ranked punter in the nation and the only one with a three-star rating, according to 247Sports’ composite list of prospects for the 2019 class.

But Hedley’s notoriety has less to do with rankings and more to do with tattoos.

Lots and lots of tattoos.

When Hedley signed, he posed for a picture in a tank top, showing off the symbols and intricate ink designs that cover his arms and run all the way up his neck. He even stuck out his hands, connecting his thumbs to form the Hurricanes’ “U”.

Hedley’s ode to modern day art was first spotted on the Coral Gables campus two months ago when he took his official visit. Miami coach Manny Diaz was not around to check out the potential signee.

Diaz’s first glimpse of his new punter came via the same photo everyone else saw.

Upon sight, Diaz had an idea. He quipped during Wednesday’s news conference that he is considering sending Hedley out for the coin toss each game.

“We’ll see how everyone feels about that,” Diaz said.

The Australian, who is in his mid-20s, was kicking at the City College of San Francisco in 2017, averaging 38.6 yards per punt. He learned the craft a month after moving to the United States after several years playing Aussie Rules football that yielded little success.

It is not just Hedley’s tattoos that make him stand out among the college kicking fraternity. It also is his size. He is 6-4, 215 pounds.

Diaz, though, is confident Hedley will be able to blend right in.

“This is Miami,” Diaz said. “It’s hard to shock someone at Miami. I think he’ll fit in fine here.”

Hedley’s arrival should boost a punting game that averaged 38.3 yards per punt, ranking 115th among Division I-A programs.

“You talk about addressing issues with our football team with field position that was a major weakness for us a year ago,” Diaz said of Hedley. “So to be able sign a punter who we think has the talent that Lewis has is a big boost for our football team and makes us better in the special teams phase.”