When the Baltimore Ravens drafted him, Penn State's Jordan Stout said he was eager to compete with veteran punter Sam Koch. That competition concluded this week, when Koch announced his retirement after 16 seasons. Still, the two will work together.
Stout, the rookie Baltimore Ravens punter drafted in the fourth round, is about to become the team's starter. And Koch, who is transitioning to a role as special teams consultant, said he wants Stout to go further than he did.
"I'm excited to work with Jordan," Koch told reporters in Baltimore after announcing his retirement from playing. "We're going to try to make him the next best punter of the Ravens and do everything we can to make him the best punter in the league."
As a fourth-round pick, Stout was Penn State's highest-drafted punter in school history. He was Penn State's first specialist drafted since David Kimball in 2004 and the first punter drafted since John Bruno in 1987.
The Big Ten punter of the year said he had "a good idea that I was going to be a Raven," and Baltimore clearly valued him. The Ravens also drafted Stout with an eye toward starting him sooner rather than later.
General Manager Eric DeCosta called Koch "iconic," while head coach John Harbaugh said Koch was "more partner than player." But in many ways, Harbaugh said, Stout reminded the Ravens of Koch.
"A lot of guys have big legs but they don't have all the other pieces," Harbaugh said, "in terms of the footwork, the technique, getting the ball out quick, the hands, the efficiency, where the drop goes, the ability to control punts, the depth. Those are all the things we looked at with Jordan, and he reminds you a lot of Sam."
One additional talent Stout demonstrated was the ability to hold on field goals. Stout did not hold last year for Penn State, since he was the team's primary kicker, punter and kickoff specialist. But he had holding experience from 2020 and spent this offseason holding for coaches and scouts.
He did that exclusively at Penn State's Pro Day in March.
"I'm really good at it, and I think that's one of the best parts of my game," Stout said, "if not my best."
Koch said he's embracing his new role with the team, though he's certain he still can punt. "My time is over, and it's OK," he said, referencing the next chapter. Which involves Stout, whose skill accelerated the Ravens' decision.
Ozzie Newsome, the Baltimore Ravens executive vice president, even might have made that decision at the Senior Bowl in January.
"I was sitting there with Ozzie before practice one day, and he was like, '[Stout] might be the best player on the field,'" Joe Hortiz, Baltimore's director of player personnel, told the team's official website. "He's just banging balls, and it just jumps off his foot."
Stout thanked Koch in a social media post, congratulating the punter on a "legendary career." Koch's next job is to make Stout legendary.
"I'm going to try to teach him everything I have," Koch said. "I'm going to put everything I have into making him the best punter this league has seen."
AllPennState is the place for Penn State news, opinion and perspective on the SI.com network. Publisher Mark Wogenrich has covered Penn State for more than 20 years, tracking three coaching staffs, three Big Ten titles and a catalog of great stories. Follow him on Twitter @MarkWogenrich. And consider subscribing (button's on the home page) for more great content across the SI.com network.