Not only did we have the No. 1 kicking recruit in Michael Palardy already in our back pocket for this coming year, now we have the No. 1 punter.
Matt Darr officially committed to Coach Derek Dooley and the University of Tennessee Wednesday following an official visit to campus. This after committing to USC then backing out when Pete Carroll left, then committing to Fresno State and backing out when John Baxter was hired by USC. Now, he’s officially a Vol following his release from Fresno State and looks to stay that way.
The Army All-American was a teammate of Palardy’s during the U.S. Army game and also played linebacker in high school when not keeping teams pinned inside their own 5 yard lines with booming punts.
And not to worry, Palardy is taking it all in stride. To him, it’s welcome competition this fall and just what a Vol special teams unit needed after coming up short on too many occasions last year when all it would have taken was a simple touchback, a higher punt, or a few more yards to the right or left of the uprights for a win.
According to Brent Hubbs with Volquest on Palardy: ‘ I just visited with him. He will be here late Saturday night. He sent Matt Darr a message yesterday congratulating him and welcoming him to Tennessee and is looking forward to competing. Michael wants to do all three jobs and will compete with Darr for the punting job along with (Chad) Cunningham.
Palardy said that he was pleased with how coach (Eric) Russell and coach Dooley handled it all with him by calling and letting him know their plans.
“It’s great for the program to have two kickers. Coach Dooley’s job is to do what is best the program and that’s what he did in signing Matt. I am happy for Matt. We hung out at the Army All-American game and he’s a great guy. We both should make each other better.”
Palardy said he did accomplish what he wanted by staying in Florida for the first part of summer.
“My leg is ready. I have been kicking three times a week and coach Conrad holds me to a collegiate standard and my timing in getting kicks and punts off are where they need to be. I am excited to get to Tennnessee and adjust to a new holder and snapper and compete for the kicking jobs in August.” ‘