ORCAHRD PARK, N.Y. (WKBW) — They call him the "Punt God" and soon we'll see if that name carries into the NFL, even if Matt Araiza isn't a fan.
"I don't necessarily love the nickname," he said. "I think it's a little too much."
Araiza was selected by the Bills as the 180th overall pick, their first pick in the sixth round of the Draft. Despite being the 3rd punter to come off the board, joining the Bills is a dream come true especially given their recent success.
"That was very high on my list in qualities out of the team I went to," he said. "We had a winning culture at San Diego State and I'm glad to be joining another team with a winning culture."
The 2021 Ray Guy Award winner, is coming off a great season with the Aztecs. He punted 79 times as a senior in which he averaged 51.2 yards per punt, an FBS single season record. His ability to pin teams deep stood out above the rest, with 40 of his punts landing inside the 20-yard line. His longest punt came on October 15th where it sailed 86 yards.
"Some of it's in the weight room and some of it's in the fact that I played a lot of sports growing up," he said about his leg strength. "The more sports you play, the more movements you develop."
While he's used to punting in the warmer and milder weather, Araiza is excited for the challenge to punt in Buffalo and the winter conditions that come with their home games. He's not perfect, but he has the right mentality to approach his rookie season.
"I think the biggest job is to out-punt the guy you're playing against. I think leg strength and athleticism are two things that help in those conditions and those are two things I pride myself in and will work on," he said. "I'm not a complete player yet, but I'm excited to get in the building and work with the coaches and the players."
As the first punter drafted by the Bills since 1990, Araiza will come in to Training Camp this summer and compete against last year's starter, Matt Haack, for the starting job this fall.