Best of the decade: punters

This is the 15th in a series of articles ranking Tennessee's best players of the decade 2000-2009. Today's focus: Punters.

1. DUSTIN COLQUITT: A four-year starter, he averaged 38.6 yards per punt as a freshman, 43.6 as a sophomore, 45.3 as a junior and 40.8 as a senior. His career average of 42.566 yards ranks third all-time at UT. He excelled at directional and pooch-punting, which enabled him to be a third-round pick of the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2005 NFL Draft. He is still in The League.

2. BRITTON COLQUITT: Another four-year starter, he averaged 41.2 yards per punt as a freshman, 44.9 as a sophomore, 41.6 as a junior and 43.4 as a senior in 2008. Alcohol problems led to a five-game suspension at the start of his senior season. Still, he ranks second on UT's all-time list with a 42.569-yard average - one notch behind his uncle Jimmy (43.9), one notch ahead of his older brother Dustin (42.566) and two notches ahead of his father, Craig (42.5). Overlooked in the 2009 NFL Draft, he is currently on the Denver Broncos roster.

3. DAVID LEAVERTON: A starter in 1998, '99 and 2000, Leaverton averaged 38.9, 42.6 and 40.9 yards per punt in his three years holding down the top job. His 40.6 career average ranks ninth on UT's all-time list.

4. CHAD CUNNINGHAM: Filling in for the suspended Britton Colquitt during the first five games of 2008, Cunningham averaged 39.5 yards per punt. As a season-long starter in 2009, he averaged 42.1 yards. He still has one year of eligibility remaining.


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