Football


Steve Fitts
Steve Fitts
10

Class:
Senior

Hometown:
South Congaree, S.C.

High School:
Airport H.S.

Weight:
192

Position:
Punter

2001 Highlights:
Earned second-team All-Big Ten honors ... Illinois' career leader in punts (256), punting yardage (10,671) and punting average (41.7) ... Ranks fifth on the Big Ten career punting yardage list ... Recorded 62 punts for a 42.1 yard average this season ... Placed 19 inside the 20 yardline ... Add to that eight touchbacks and nine fair catches and 58 percent of all his punts were unreturnable ... Pinned 7 of 10 punts inside the 15 yardline vs. Ohio State and Northwestern ... Had four of his six punts downed inside the Ohio State 10 ... Had seven punts for an average of 48.7 yards against Penn State ... Recorded nine punts for 364 yards against LSU, pinning two inside the 20 yardline ... Had a season long boot of 69 yards that rolled to a stop inside the Penn State 5 ... Had two punts downed inside the Nittany Lion 12 ... Became the all-time punting leader in Illinois history against Purdue with five punts for a 42.2 yard average ... Punted just one time against Wisconsin and Indiana ... Only punt against the Badgers pinned them on their own 10 yardline after a 38-yard punt ... Hit his only punt at Indiana at the 2 yardline after 52 yards ... Also handled kickoff duties kicking off 74 times with 20 of those touchbacks ... Opponents' starting field position following kickoffs was the 21.9 yardline.

2000 Highlights:
Earned honorable mention All-Big Ten honors for the second straight year ... Finished the season with 52 punts for 2,128 yards, an average of 40.9 yards per punt ... Averaged over 45 yards per punt in two games this season, including an 64 yard average at Penn State ... Started the season as the team's placekicker and punter, the first time an Illinois kicker has handled both roles since 1953 ... Tallied eight punts over 50 yards ... Was five-of-10 in field goal attempts, hitting a career-long 47 yarder at Minnesota ... Was a perfect 25-of-25 in extra point attempts ... Ranked second on the team in scoring with 40 points ... Ranks fifth in Illinois career punts and fourth in all-time punting yardage ... Placed 11 punts inside the 20 yardline and 13 punts were unreturnable ... Averaged 46.5 yards per punt against Michigan ... Made seven-of-seven PATs at San Diego State ... Also registered three tackles on special teams.

1999 Highlights
Garnered honorable mention All-Big Ten honors ... Ranked 31st nationally and fourth in the Big Ten in punting yardage ... Eclipsed 1998 average of 41.3 yards per punt with 42.3 average in 1999, which ranks as the second highest single-season average in Illini history ... Ranked first on UI all-time list for career average, eighth for career punts and career yards ... Set career highs for punts (13 vs. Penn State) and average (48.5 vs. Indiana) ... Averaged 48.5 yards on six punts against Indiana and 48.3 on four tries vs. Louisville for the eighth and ninth highest average on the Illinois single-game list ... Blasted punts of 75, 74, and 70 yards during season ... Placed 15 punts inside the 20 yard line ... Did not have a punt blocked in 65 attempts ... Threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to kicker Neil Rackers for the first punter/kicker TD combination in school history in the Illini's win over Iowa ... Completed an 18-yard pass to Jameel Cook for a first down in the Illini's 46-20 win at No. 25 Ohio State ... His 2,749 yards in 1999 are the fifth-most in a single season in school history ... Did not punt in the Illini's rout of Virginia in the Micronpc.com Bowl.

1998 Highlights
Moved into the Illinois record book as a true freshman punter, kicking 77 times for 3,182 yards, a 41.3 yard average ... Drilled 13 punts inside the 20 yard line and ended the season with a 36.0 net punting average ... His 77 attempts and 3,182 yards both ranked fourth in all-time UI single-season list and 41.3 yard average ranked first on career list. . . Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week Oct. 19 after booting six punts for a 44.3 yard average and a career-long 78-yard punt in difficult winds vs. Wisconsin ... Enjoyed seven games averaging 41 yards or better ... Made UI debut with eight punts for 43.6 yard average at Washington State ... Season-high 11 attempts vs. Louisville ... Kicked 10 times for 482 yards, 48.2 yard average with a 66-yarder vs. Ohio State ... Averaged 43.3 at Purdue (three att.), 43.2 (six punts) vs. Indiana and 42.0 (five att.) at Michigan State.

High School Highlights Played punter, kicker and quarterback at Airport High School in Gaston, S.C. ... Set six punting and six kicking records at Airport ... Punted 147 times for 5,898 yards (40.1 average) in his high school career, including a school record 53 punts for 2,090 yards in 1996 and a 44.1 average in 1997 ... As a placekicker, hit 20-of-29 field goals and 51-of-56 extra points, including a 47-yarder and hit eight out of nine field goals his senior season . . . A perfect 4-4 on field goals in playoff and all-star games ... Also recorded 32 touchbacks on kickoffs in 1997 ... A two-time all-state punter by the High School Sports Report and The State . . . Also earned all-region 3-AAAA honors twice and all-area honors three times . . . Earned Homecoming MVP and Team Captain Award. . . Named to 1997 South Carolina North-South All-Star team . . . Named MVP in annual BC Game ... High school coach was Les Evans.

Personal
Full given name is Steven Raymond Fitts, Jr... Born Feb. 7, 1980 in Augusta, Ga. . . . Earned five varsity letters, including three in football and two in soccer ... Two-time MVP in soccer, earning All-Region 3-AAAA honors before quitting soccer to concentrate on football in 1996-97 ... Served on newspaper and Student Council ... Father, Steven, kicked on Clemson's freshman team in 1971 ... Parents are Steven and Rosemary Fitts ... Father, Steve, is President of Fitts Company and mother, Rosemary, is President of Innovation Design ... Majoring in business administration and entrepreneurship ... Enjoys hunting, fishing and snow skiing ... Favorite athlete is former Clemson All-America kicker and punter Chris Gardocki ... Past summer jobs include construction work and sign manufacturing ... Hometown is known for hosting the Congaree Western Weekend.

Career Highs
Attempts: 13 vs. PSU, 10/30/99 Yards: 482 vs. PSU, 10/30/99 & vs. OSU, 10/10/98 Average: 48.5 at Indiana, 10/2/99 Long: 78 vs. Wisconsin, 10/17/98

Punting Statistics
					INSIDE	NET
YEAR	NO	YDS	AVG	LONG	20	AVG.
1998	77	3,182	41.3	78	13	36.1
1999	65	2,749	42.3	75	15	36.1
2000	52	2,128	40.9	64	11	36.3
2001	62	2,612	42.1	69	19	36.7
Total	256	10,671	41.7	78	61	36.3
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