PHOTO | Tara Espinoza
Aaron Winn, a punter at Tech, did not start his college career in Russellville. The former two-sport athlete from Summerville, South Carolina, started with the Presbyterian College Blue Hose in Clinton, South Carolina.
Entering college, Presbyterian was where Winn “wanted to be.” After being the starting punter for the Blue Hose’s 2019 season and their 2021 spring season, he found out head coach Tommy Spangler would not return. Replacing Spangler was Pulaski Academy High School Head Coach Kevin Kelley.
Kelley brought an unorthodox approach to football. Kelley teams never punted, always went for it on fourth downs, and went for a two-point conversion after each touchdown.
The approach intended to outscore opponents, precisely what Pulaski Academy did during Kelley’s final season, averaging 50.7 points per game.
There was just one problem Winn had with Kelley’s philosophy, no punting. When Winn found out Kelley was hired at Presbyterian, he took to Instagram and said, “in case you’re wondering, I’m not okay.”
Kelley told Winn the only way he would play at Presbyterian was by switching positions. He played defensive back and punter in high school at Cane Bay but decided to stay a punter and enter the transfer portal.
“I got offers from a couple of Division 1 schools,” said Winn. He got an offer from Arkansas Tech and a virtual tour of just the Hull athletic building. He committed soon after.
“It was the best option for me,” said Winn. After committing, Winn had a strongly worded phone call with Kelley, letting him know his decision.
During Arkansas Tech’s 2021 campaign, Winn averaged 41 yards a punt and the season featured a career-long 68-yard punt against Henderson State.
The team went 4-6 that season but Winn and many of the other players on the team knew the following season would be much better.