Following Braden Mann’s record-breaking season for Texas A&M, the senior punter has been working hard in the offseason to replicate his success this fall.
“This year I'm focusing more on getting better height and distance,” Mann said. “There were a few times that I'd kick into coverage a little bit, and [opponents] have done a really good job covering, so I just need to get a better hang time on it.”
Mann also said that he is working to improve his punts inside the 50-yard line and limiting the number of touchbacks, crediting the A&M covering team to the low number of touchbacks from last season.
Mann broke several NCAA records in 2018, including the most punts reaching 60 yards or more in a single season, and the single-season punting average with 50.98 yards per punt.
In return Mann won the Ray Guy Award, which is given to the nation’s top punter each season, along with a unanimous All-American honor and SEC Special Teams Player of the Year.
After Mann completed his junior season in College Station, he had a pair of options on the table: stay at A&M for his final season, or go to the NFL. He chose the stay for one more year.
“I love college football,” Mann said. “I want to get my degree, secondly. That opportunity will be waiting for me, when that time comes. But I was in no rush to leave. After LSU I had time to think about [my future], that and bowl period, I didn’t really think about it a whole lot. Just kinda talked to my family and I was like, I’ve wanted to play college football my whole life, that’s been the goal. I wouldn’t want to give it up for anything.”
With a potential career in the NFL waiting due to his decision to stay in Aggieland, Mann isn’t concerned for a dip in his numbers that could hurt his draft stock transitioning into the pros.
“I don’t see why,” Mann said. “After working hard for another year and getting a whole other offseason of getting faster and stronger, I don’t see why I would have a worse year. So i’m just shooting for a little higher.”
Mann said that he has taken a lot of different roles within the special teams unit, including being a holder and working on kickoffs, in addition to being a leader within his positional group.
“I think we need leaders to step up in every aspect of the game,” Mann said. “I’m not one of those guys that has been a huge vocal leader, but I just kind of lead by what I do and the way I work in practice, so i’m just trying to lead like that.”
The Aggies will take the field on Saturday, April 13 at Kyle Field for the annual spring football game. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. and will be televised on SEC Network.