A 90 yard punt is a long way. Former Hornet broke university records with a booming punt, three yards shy of the NCAA record.
Fullerton College has produced many great athletes and Thomas Bouldin is one of them. The Hornet football team is always a powerhouse football organization and is very exciting to follow some of the players on their journey to the next level.
Graduate of Brea Olinda High School, Bouldin had to work his way towards a 4-year university. While other division one schools were looking at Bouldin, he decided that Indiana State was the perfect fit.
Coming fresh out of high school, Bouldin had to show Coach Byrnes and the rest of the coaching staff what he was made out of.
“This was my first time competing for a starting job,” said Bouldin.
Once Bouldin secured the starting punting position at Fullerton, he was able to capture the attention of Indiana State and received a full ride scholarship.
One major difference between playing football at Fullerton and Indiana State that Bouldin pointed out was the speed, size and strength of these players. By grinding everyday, Bouldin was able to compete with these athletes and become one of the best punters in NCAA football.
On October 21, 2017, Bouldin booted a 90 yard punt against their rivals, Southern Illinois, shattering the school and conference record. Indiana State’s previous record was set in 1967 that went for 82 yards and the conference record was set in 2002 and was 89 yards.
“We were backed up on the 10 yard line and i just knew i needed to give the defense a lot of field behind them and get a good ball off. When I hit it, it just sailed,” Bouldin described about his record breaking punt.
After Bouldin’s booming punt, it blew up everywhere on social media. For example, Bouldin’s record breaker caught the attention of former NFL punter, Pat McAfee. McAfee posted the video of Bouldin’s punt on Twitter which had 6,282 Likes and 1,067 Retweets.
Bouldin received a lot of support from friends, family, former coaches and teammates. Not only is it special for Bouldin for breaking a college football record, but it is also an honor being able to know someone who has broken a record and knowing someone as humble as he is.
For any athlete, they are going face adversity. Bouldin advises to always fight through it. Even an outstanding punter like Bouldin goes through some rough patches while playing. There would be situations where he did not have the kind of punts he wanted or other hard times that the team would go through but Bouldin managed to pull through.
Before every game, Bouldin jogs down the field to pray by himself then prays once again with the team pastor. He also punts the ball both ways on the field so he can test how the wind will affect him.
Despite Indiana State’s 0-11 season, it allowed Bouldin to showcase his elite skills. By doing so, Bouldin received All Missouri Valley Football Conference Honorable Mention.
Bouldin’s time at Indiana State was definitely memorable for himself and the fans. The past two years combined, Bouldin finished with: 132 punts, averaging 41.6 yards per punt, 5,517 total yards and 90 yards for his longest punt.
Jumping from Fullerton College to Indiana State, the attendance at games is a huge difference. Bouldin had the opportunity to play against Tennessee University in front of 100,000 people.
“The experience for playing division one is great, being able to play in front of 100,000 people was unbelievable. It’s college footballs biggest stage,” said Bouldin.
Breaking records and receiving honorable mentions do not come easy. There are early mornings, long days and hard work that needs to be put in. In order for Bouldin to be in top punting shape, he focuses on stability, balance, a bunch of leg workouts and core work.
Not only do student athletes have to put in work on the field, but in the classroom as well. Bouldin is currently majoring in Criminal Justice and he says that the transfer form community college to a university was much easier because there are no General Education classes required. At a university, people can take classes focusing on their major.
Although season is over, Bouldin is working harder than ever both physcially and mentally. This upcoming April, the former Hornet will be entering the upcoming NFL Combine.
“Staying humble and staying grounded is the biggest key for this process. I just have to keep doing what I am doing,” said Bouldin regarding his journey to the NFL.
By the end of the semester, Bouldin will receive his Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice. If his journey to the NFL does not work out, Bouldin’s goal is to become a Game Warden or Wildlife Officer. Even with all the preparation Bouldin has to do for the NFL, he is wasting no time in pursuing his secondary goals. This upcoming spring, Bouldin has an internship through Vigo County Sheriff’s Department where he will be doing weekly ride-alongs.
If Bouldin ends up entering Law Enforcement, his dream is to work anywhere in Colorado. “I’m done with [California], all the traffic really sucks,” Bouldin sadly stated.
It is clear that this former Hornet has a bright future ahead of him no matter what path he chooses.
Once a Hornet, always a Hornet.