The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Iowa football’s Tory Taylor drafted by Chicago Bears

Taylor was selected as the No. 122 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft on Saturday.
Emily Nyberg
Iowa punter Tory Taylor acknowledges fans after a football game between Iowa and Illinois at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2023. Taylor punted for 413 total yards, averaging 51.6 per play. The Hawkeyes defeated the Fighting Illini 15-13.

Former Iowa football punter Tory Taylor was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the fourth round with the No. 122 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft on Saturday. 

“It’s really an honor to be a Bear,” Taylor told Tyler Tachman of The Des Moines Register. “I just can’t believe it to be honest.” 

The 6-foot-4, 231-pound star was widely regarded by national sportswriters and analysts as the top punter in the draft due to his powerful leg and ability to pin the ball inside the 10-yard-line. 

Hailing from Melbourne, Australia, Taylor participated in cricket and Australian rules football as a youth but soon became involved with Prokick Australia, an organization that offers U.S. college scholarships for kickers and punters. 

Taylor’s performance began to attract attention from Iowa special teams coordinator LeVar Woods, who previously recruited fellow Australian punter Michael Sleep-Dalton to Iowa as a graduate transfer in 2019. After a lengthy recruitment, Taylor announced his commitment to the Hawkeyes in July of 2020. 

He quickly emerged as a star during the COVID-19-shortened 2020 season, averaging 44.1 yards per punt and was named a semifinalist for the Ray Guy Award, given to the nation’s top college punter. He didn’t miss a beat during the 2021 season, raising his average to 46 yards per punt while guiding Iowa to a 10-4 record and a Big Ten West Division Championship. 

Though punters are often considered afterthoughts, Taylor became a fan favorite in Iowa City due to Iowa’s struggling offense, and popular store RAYGUN created T-shirts that read “Punting is Winning” — in reference to Taylor’s punts often pinning opposing teams inside their own territory and creating shorter fields for the offense. 

Taylor continued his dominance in 2022 and was named a first-team All-American by Pro Football Focus after a season in which a whopping 38 punts landed inside the 20-yard-line. Following a disappointing 8-5 season, he delighted Hawkeye fans by announcing his return for his senior season. 

Taylor staked his claim as the best punter in the nation in 2023, logging a career-high 48.2 yards per punt, which resulted in a school-record 4,479 punting yards. For his work during the season, he was named a unanimous first-team All-American and the winner of the 2023 Ray Guy Award. During senior day ceremonies at Kinnick Stadium, Taylor received the loudest roar from the Black and Gold faithful. 

Taylor joins a Bears team with high expectations after drafting former USC standout quarterback Caleb Williams with the No. 1 overall pick. Shortly after the Bears selected Taylor, Williams jokingly sent Taylor a text reading, “Hey, you’re not going to punt much here.” General manager Ryan Poles added that Taylor is “one of best punters I have ever seen.” 

The Bears ranked near the bottom of the NFL in punting yards last year and hope Taylor can help lead them to the playoffs for the first time in three seasons. 

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About the Contributors
Brad Schultz
Brad Schultz, Sports Reporter
Brad Schultz is a sophomore at the University of Iowa majoring in Journalism and Mass Communication with a minor in Sports Studies. This is first year working as a sports reporter and he has a deep passion and love for sports. Outside of the Daily Iowan, Brad is a contributor for Saturday Blitz, a college football site, with his content primarily covering Iowa and the Big Ten.
Emily Nyberg
Emily Nyberg, Visual Editor
Emily Nyberg is a second-year student at the University of Iowa double majoring in Journalism and Cinematic arts. Prior to her role as a Visual Editor, Emily was a Photojournalist, and a News Reporter covering higher education.