The first year, 2013, could have been dismissed as a fluke, little more than good fortune for a freshman with no scouting reports for opponents to study.
Devin Borders blocked five kicks in his first season with Eastern Kentucky, the school that uncovered the under-recruited gem from Choctaw High School. He got his hands on more kicks in his first season than 102 entire teams in the FCS did.
And then he did it again. Borders, a sophomore, swatted five more kicks this season to lead the FCS for the second consecutive year, tied with P.J. Hall of Sam Houston State and J. Moreland of James Madison.
His penchant for blocking kicks earned him the 2015 All Sports Association Male Collegiate Award.
“It was a pretty big surprise,” Borders said. “I didn’t even have that on my mind and to be recognized by that is pretty huge for me. “Having been to a couple of the all-sports banquets and stuff like that, it’s pretty big.”
This is just the latest accolade for Borders. He earned the Ohio Valley Conference Freshman of the Year in 2013, the same year he was named the team’s offensive MVP after leading the Colonels in receptions (34), receiving yards (509) and touchdown catches (six).
“It’s definitely huge,” Borders said, “this being the collegiate athlete of the year for the All Sports Association.
“I mean, the collegiate athlete, that means baseball, basketball, all the other sports it could have been. That’s huge, that’s huge for me.”
The career record for blocked kicks is held by McNeese State’s Leonard Smith, who finished his tenure as a Cowboy with 17 of them (10 field goals, four extra points, three punts).
With two years under his belt, Borders is on pace for 20.
“I have the record in my sights,” he said. “It’s only a matter of time.”