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Syracuse punter Nolan Cooney signs with New Orleans Saints

The Saints wind up with their second Orange free agent

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 19 Syracuse at Pitt Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Though the Syracuse Orange football program “only” had two players — Andre Cisco and Ifeatu Melifonwu — get selected in this year’s NFL Draft, there are still other avenues to make an NFL roster.

Trill Williams signed with the New Orleans Saints as an undrafted free agent, and now punter Nolan Cooney has as well.

Cooney, a cancer survivor, was one of the best punters in the country this past season (his only one on scholarship). He averaged 44.8 yards per punt — 15th in the nation and best in Syracuse history — and also attempted more punts than anyone else in the FBS. Cooney also had 24 punts downed inside the 20 — a rate of nearly 33%. All of that earned him both All-ACC and All-American honors. #PunterU is alive and well.

Pre-draft, we saw him signing with a team like the Chargers, Jets, Packers or Vikings. The Saints were second-to-last in punting average last year, though, so would seem to need a change there.

It appears that Cooney will be part of a pretty close race for the New Orleans punting job going into 2021. Former Penn State punter Blake Gillikin is his competition.

Congrats to Nolan! And looking forward to seeing if he can become the third Syracuse punter currently in the NFL.