Photo by the University of Delaware
Eric Enderson, 21, has played three successful football seasons at the University of Delaware.
Eric Enderson made one of the most important decisions of his life this month, and it wasn’t an easy one. The record-setting punter decided to relinquish his last season of eligibility at the University of Delaware in hopes of building a career in the NFL.
“It was probably one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever made,” says Enderson, 21, who lived in Iceland as a child before moving to Virginia and graduating from Phoebus High School in Hampton, Va. “Forgoing my last season with the best teammates, a great coaching staff and all the great fans of Delaware was probably the hardest part.”
Enderson’s statistics over three UD football seasons are superb: He averaged 43.6 yards per punt—2.8 yards more than the closest Blue Hen punter. His 7,630 punting yards rank second all time at Delaware, trailing only Scott White (1994–97). Arguably his most impressive statistic? The 60 out of 175 punts that pinned Delaware’s opponents inside the 20-yard line.
Enderson knows the odds are stacked against him despite his impressive statistics. There are 32 teams in the NFL, and each team only carries one punter. But he also believes that his work ethic and athletic abilities could ultimately set him apart from other aspiring NFL punters. “I feel like I can outwork pretty much anybody if I really set my mind to it,” he says. “I’m coachable, I work hard and, at the end of the day, I know I have what it takes to get the job done.”
Enderson’s individual accomplishments undeniably stand out, but he insists that the statistics are a reflection of the entire punt team’s strengths. “The long snapper, Joe Fortunato—he doesn’t get any of those statistics, but I feel like I share [them] with him,” he says. “I share everything I’ve done in my career with all the other guys on the punt team.”
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Photo by the University of Delaware
Fondly looking back on his time at UD, Enderson recalls an especially memorable home game against the College of William & Mary, when he ended the day with a whopping nine punts for 436 yards. As he came off the field after the fourth punt, the entire stadium—extra crowded because it was parents’ weekend—gave him a standing ovation. “As a punter, that doesn’t really happen often,” he says. “I will remember that moment forever.”
While he’ll always cherish his Blue Hen days, Enderson’s focus is now his NFL dream. (The draft will be held from April 28–30.) He is currently a free-agent punter, and will soon begin looking for a punting coach. His goal is to work his way into a few pro camps and then hopefully receive an invite to a training camp.
The process is daunting, no doubt, but Enderson is not fighting solo. He frequently seeks advice and training from two former kickers, Todd Covington (a kicker and punter with experience in the high school, collegiate and professional ranks) and Mike Husted (a former NFL placekicker for the Buccaneers, Raiders, Redskins and Chiefs.) Enderson hopes both men can help him make some valuable connections.
Though his future holds uncertainties, Enderson says he wouldn’t trade his time at UD for anything.
“I wouldn’t [have wanted] to play in front of any other fans or any other place, because the people who [surrounded me]—whether it was the players on the team, the coaches or the administration around the athletic program—they’re really second to none,” he says. “It was a great experience.”