ORANGE CITY, IOWA (KCAU) – The Northwestern football team averages nearly 48 points per game, so punting isn’t exactly a booming business.
But for sophomore Jaden Snyder, it’s about quality, not quantity.
“I really try to perfect that punting craft… because it’s something that interests me and it’s always kind of been there,” redshirt sophomore Jaden Snyder said.
The South Dakota State transfer and West Lyon alum has brought a big boot to Orange City, averaging nearly 40 yards per punt this season while claiming 1st Team All-Gpac in 2020. But after a midseason injury in the secondary in 2020, Jaden was asked to help the defense even more.
“Honestly he was pretty hesitant,” Northwestern head football coach Matt McCarty said. “He wanted to focus on punting, and Jaden’s an outstanding punter, but I think once he realized he could help the team at safety he began to open up to the idea.”
“I thought about it and talked with family,” Snyder said. “After stepping away from football at SDSU and really wanting to focus on baseball, I thought I might as well give it a shot because I just love these guys.”
And Jaden has done more than just fill the role. Of Northwestern’s 13 interceptions, Snyder leads everyone with 4 picks, tied for ninth in the nation.
“He stepped right in and made an impact right away and he’s obviously helped the team ever since then so obviously we’re very lucky that he was able to do that,” sophomore linebacker Parker Fryar said. “It’s kind of fun that he doesn’t have to run off the field after he punts it, He can just walk on down there.”
Not everyone could handle double duty of setting up their defense with a kick, and then staying out there to get the ball back for their offense. But it’s a wisdom beyond his years that makes Snyder stand out to both his teammates and coaches.
“He’s someone who works really hard at both playing safety and punting,” McCarty said. “He doesn’t wanna leave anything to chance.”
“All the work I feel like I’ve put in kind of overcomes the age factor,” Snyder said. “Stepping into that role was awesome. They accepted me with open arms, and now we’re here.”
“He was actually my roommate when he got here a few years ago,” senior quarterback Blake Fryar said. “Obviously he’s just gelled to the team super great and we’re really lucky to have him.”