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Wade Lees enters 2017 as Maryland football’s only proven punter

Profiles in Terpage moves to the oldest member of the team.

wade lees Alex Kirshner/SB Nation

Profiles in Terpage is back for 2017. Last week, we focused on the safeties; this week, we’re looking at the special teams.

Wade Lees, P, No. 88

Height: 6’2
Weight: 208 lbs.
Year: Sophomore
Hometown: Melbourne, Australia
High school: Box Hill Senior Secondary College

How he got to College Park

Lees’ life and career have been a roller coaster. He grew up in Australia, dropped out of school at 17 and split time between working in construction and playing Australian League football. In 2012, Lees was suspended for 18 months for purchasing, but never taking, a banned substance, but he would return to continue his career.

At age 27, he committed to Maryland, following in the footsteps of countryman kicker Brad Craddock. Lees stepped in immediately at a punter position that was among the nation’s worst in 2015, taking all 72 of the Terps’ punts as a freshman. He only averaged 39.8 yards, but his punts were rarely returned and he finished the season with only one touchback.

Career highlight

Lees had two games with four punts inside the 20-yard line last season, most recently in the Terps’ double-overtime win at UCF in September.

2017 prospectus

Maryland’s online roster has Lees as one of just two listed punters; Danny Sutton is the other, and he has zero career punts to his name. There’s less competition at this position than any on the team, but Lees won’t get content. He was named to the preseason watch list for the Ray Guy Award, given to the nation’s best punter, and he told Testudo Times at Maryland’s preseason press conference that anything less than a semifinalist nod for the award would be a disappointment.

Dream season

Lees doesn’t have to punt a lot, but when he does, he becomes one of the best in the country. He continues to stifle opposing return men, only with consistently longer boots down the field. Lees earns that Guy semifinalist designation, perhaps even cracking the final list.

Up next

This player kicked Maryland’s longest field goal of 2016.

t0nyb0y88 and say_al are first on the board this week.