INDIANAPOLIS — In 2017, Adam Korsak arrived in New Jersey looking to start a new journey as the punter for the Scarlet Knights. Five years later, he has overcome the initial culture shock and is leading the way for other Australian punters to make it in the Big Ten.
Korsak is one of the best punters in the nation and was recently named to the Ray Guy Award Watch List prior to the 2022 season — his fifth consecutive year earning this honor. The Melbourne, Australia native implements a style that he has used since he was a child.
“We play a game called Australian rules football,” Korsak explained. “To pass the ball, you have to punt it. To score the ball, you have to punt it. So, punting the ball comes very naturally to Australians. It’s such a big sport in Australia because it’s our sport. It's not really played anywhere else in the world.”
In 2021, Korsak had a record-setting year for the Scarlet Knights. He led the nation with a net punt of 45.34. Opponents were held to a return of four years or less on 67 of Korsak’s 70 punts this season. Of those 70 punts, 37 landed inside the 20-yard line while 15 settled inside the 10 and four directly on the one-yard line. Korsak was also named First Team All-Big Ten in the coaches’ vote.
Korsak was named Second Team All-American and was one of three finalists for the Ray Guy Award, which many believed he should win. Being snubbed is not on the mind of Korsak heading into the new season.
“If I don’t put my focus to camp this year, I’m not going to be a great punter,” Korsak said. “It might sound like a cliche but the way I work is, I have to concentrate on every single play because I’m not good enough not to. If I think about the award in six months, I’m not going to be a good punter tomorrow.”
The overall work ethic and passion for punting the ball has Korsak at the top of his game and the perfect leader for the next generation of Australian punters.
Rutgers added another Australian punter in the offseason. Flynn Appleby is expected to act as Korsak’s successor.
“Coach said that we’re thinking about getting another Australian and that was very humbling to me,” Korsak said. “That was one of my goals when I came here, to put Australian punters in a position that coach would want another one.”
Head coach Greg Schiano praised Korsak for his work on and off the field. He is a main cog for the Scarlet Knights over the last four years and believes the punter can succeed at the next level.
“Adam is the best punter that I’ve ever been around in 35 years,” Schiano said. “That’s a pretty big statement. I’ve been around a lot of them.”
Korsak and Schiano both expressed interest in adding a bit of diversity to Korsak’s game. This means adding a more traditional style of punting to prepare him for the next level. Korsak has practiced this in the past and will continue to fine tune his game in all areas.
“I’ve always just enjoyed kicking the ball,” Korsak said. “Whatever punt is required of me, I’m going to do the best of my ability. I don't necessarily think we’re going to change too much. We’re going to do what we've done over the last four years.”
The style of punting in Australia compared to that of the NFL is extremely different but Korsak has found a way to master both. He continues to scramble a bit before letting it loose on the field but there is a chance that could change.
The NFL style of punting, of course, has the punter stand upright when receiving the ball and exploding through it in a standing position.
“The way you hold the ball is very different,” Korsak said. “The way you drop the ball is very different. Your head position is very different. The posture of your body being over the ball more instead of leaning back. Because the way you drop the ball is different, the way you hit it will be different. I have my own technique of it. I don't try to be someone who I’m not. I know who I am and I know my strengths.”
Korsak is preparing for his fifth and final season in Piscataway. Rutgers is glad to have back its All-American punter and team captain while Korsak remains in a place he has enjoyed as a second home.
“New Jersey people are different,” Korsak said. “The Jersey juice is incredible. I love the energy of the people and they have welcomed me since the day I got here. I really love being apart of New Jersey and Rutgers. I haven’t had a bad day on campus and I’m so thankful for the people who have welcomed me. It’s a big reason why I decided to stay.”