Book It!

Published 11:50 pm Sunday, December 10, 2023

Former Ironton All-Ohio punter Avery Book earns AFCA Division 2 All-American honors

Augustana University punter Avery Book practices his drop technique. Book was named an AFCA All-American.


Augustana University punter Avery Book gets off another punt. Book was named an AFCA All-American.

By Jim Walker

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SIOUX FALLS, SD — There’s no denying it. Avery Book is getting quite a kick out of his football career.

From Ironton  to Glenville State to Augustana University, Book has done nothing but improve as a kicker and that improvement was no more evident than his selection as an AFCA second team All-American.

The former Ironton All-Ohio placekicker and punter was unsure if he actually had a chance to earn the lofty honor. It didn’t become a reality until Vikings’ head coach Jerry Olszewski broke the new to him.

Avery Book

“About half way through the season, a few of my teammates mentioned I could be in the running for all-American status. I didn’t think much about it because I try to avoid paying attention to stats,” said Book.

“When  the season was over I did compare stats but wasn’t too sure what was going to happen. So I was happy and excited when Coach O let me know I had been selected.”

Book reset the Augustana single-season punting records in 2023 with an average of 44.8 yards per punt which ranked him third in the nation.

On the season, Book had 19 punts exceeding 50 yards while pinning 14 kicks inside the 20-yard line. He also had seven touchbacks on 48 punts.

He earned an NSIC Player of the Week honor on Oct. 23 after punting six times for an average of 45.2 yards per kick. He also record a season-best 69 yards at Southwest Minnesota State on Oct. 7.

The 5-foot-10, 190-pound Book began his college career at Glenville State where he started as a punter and placekicker before becoming strictly a punter.

As a freshman, he punted 23 times for an average of 39 yards a kick. In 2021, Book was a first team All-Mountain East selection as he averaged 41.1 yards a kick including a 70-yarder.

In 2022, Book was first team All-Mountain East again as he had nine punts go more than 50 yards including a 61-yarder while still putting 12 punts inside the 20-yard line.

Book said after doing double duty as a freshman, a transfer kicker came to Glenville and handled the conversions and kickoffs which allowed him to focus on his punting.

“My biggest reason that I believe that I have seen improvement in my kicking is weightlifting and practicing one part of punting a day,” said Book.

“Weight lifting has taken my game to new levels. In our preseason before I pulled my hamstring, they were charting my kicks at 48 to 55 yards with a 4.8 to 5.2 second hang time.

“The other thing I picked up is focusing on one part of punting a day. One day it may be the angle of the drop, next height of drop or leg swing. It truly depends on weather and how the body’s feeling. My longest punt this year was a 69-yarder down on the one-yard line.”

Book was graduating from Glenville and the school didn’t have the graduate program he wanted. He was looking for a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) and after searching other schools he visited Sioux Falls and felt at home and enrolled at Augustana.

“The coaches were great and they care about the players and work very hard to make the team feel like a family,” said Book. “The coaches and family atmosphere reminds of my time at Ironton and coaches (Trevon and Jerrod) Pendletons.”

Book did look at some D1 and D2 programs including Ohio State, but he said OSU “is hung up on the Australians.”

Augustana won the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference championship this season and made the NCAA Division 2 playoffs. The Vikings won their first game 51-24 over Minnesota State but were upset in the next round by Colorado School of Mines, 56-10.

“Honestly, this year at Augusta reminded me a lot of the 2019 Fighting Tigers season,” said Book. “In the conference, we beat several top 10 teams but we lost a game where statistically we should have won. We dominated in every category except the final score — similar to Ashland (game).”

Augustana ended this season similar to the 2019 Ironton season by playing the best team in the nation (Colorado School of Mines). Overall, it’s been a great experience and I’m glad I chose Augustana over D1 schools.”

Book plans on getting his MBA but the lure of the NFL is on his wish list.

“My plans after I get my MBA are to take a stab at punting professionally. If that doesn’t work out, then I will attend Law School,” said Book.

When thinking about Book’s professional hopes, one has to think that being an All-American will help him get a foot in an NFL door.