Top MAC Football Players of 2013: #66, Anthony Melchiori, Kent State P

Melchiori had one of the strongest legs among FBS freshmen. - Kent State Athletic Department

He started his career making a cameo in a viral blooper reel, but by the end of the season he became one of the top field position movers in the MAC.

Some people were put on this earth to make failed third down conversions less stressful for us football fans. Those people are called punters.

The first punter on our list is Kent State's Anthony Melchiori. After his freshman year, Melchiori was already as decorated as a teenage girl's bedroom. A quick peek at his profile page on the Flashes website shows that he has been named special teams player of the week in the Mid-American Conference and won two national honorable mentions.

Speaking to Melchiori, you can tell that he legitimately appreciates the accolades that he received. He also realizes why he won them.

"Winning them was amazing. It speaks to our team and having a work ethic. At the end of the day I am kicking a football, and I must go through the proper drills and practices to get the rewards."

Some players like to downplay the prizes they earn with nauseating quotes like "All that matters is if the team wins." With Melchiori, you can tell that the team obviously comes first, but he also cares about being at the top of his position. At the end of the day, the best way to help his team win is to be the best.

Along with his early success, he was also a key player in one of the most infamous plays in Kent State history. In the first game of the year, on the first play of his college career, Melchiori sailed a nice looking punt to a waiting Towson player. What happens next is gold that I am sure you have seen 100 times.

It will never get old. But back to Melchiori.

He is one of the top punters in the league. He finished third in average yards per punt last season with 42.6 yards. He finished just a tenth behind Jay Karutz of Eastern Michigan and a yard behind Colter Johnson of UMass. And while Johnson is entering his senior year for the Minutemen, I have a strong feeling that it will be Melchiori that finishes number one in 2013.

Why do I feel this way? Coaches feel that college athletes mature the most between their freshman year and sophomore year. You have to assume that the sophomore Melchiori will have significant improvements when compared to his younger self. Melchiori started every game for the Flashes last year and got better with time. In the MAC Championship, he averaged an incredible 47.6 yards a punt. He played a huge part in keeping the Flashes close throughout the game.

"I just started feeling confident out there. I knew that I had prepared, and I just had to do my job." said Melchiori.

He will also play a huge part if the Flashes can defend their MAC East crown this year. Melchiori is/will be a weapon for Kent State. Field position will rarely be lost by the Golden Flashes in 2013.

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