Big Leaguer

Former Panther Wil Lutz (B.S. '15) kicks his way to success for the New Orleans Saints.

The New Orleans Saints opened the 2016 season with a rookie placekicker who had not even been with the team a week.

Back in May, Wil Lutz (B.S. ’15), Georgia State’s 2015 punter and starting placekicker from 2012–15, signed with the Baltimore Ravens as an undrafted free agent only to be cut on Aug. 30 after the team inked its incumbent player to a longer deal.

lutzJust days later, however, he was on his way to try out with New Orleans on the recommendation of Baltimore head coach John
Harbaugh. On Sept. 5, Lutz then delivered what Saints head coach Sean Payton called “probably the best kicking workout I’ve ever seen.”

The next day, Lutz was on the active roster, having unseated the Saints’ incumbent placekicker.

“Getting cut and then signed out of nowhere and thrown right into the starting position for the Saints — these past few weeks have been crazy,” said Lutz in September. “I went from not even having a chance to becoming one of the two rookie kickers in the NFL.”

In his professional debut Sept. 11, he narrowly missed a game-winning 61-yard field goal against the Oakland Raiders. Though he missed the chance to be the hero, his play that day prompted Payton, his head coach, to tell the New Orleans Times-Picayune that “I like this guy a lot.”

“He’s going to be kicking long after I’m coaching here,” Payton told the newspaper. “He’s really talented.”

Lutz is one of three Georgia State alumni including Albert Wilson (Kansas City Chiefs) and Ulrick John (Arizona Cardinals) on NFL rosters.