Matt Araiza

Matt Araiza
Personal information
Born: (2000-05-16) May 16, 2000 (age 22)
San Diego, California
Height:6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight:200 lb (91 kg)
Career information
High school:Rancho Bernardo
(San Diego, California)
College:San Diego State (2018–2021)
NFL Draft:2022 / Round: 6 / Pick: 180
Career history
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Player stats at · PFR

Matthew Ryan Araiza (born May 16, 2000) is an American football punter who is a free agent. He played college football at San Diego State, where he set the NCAA season record for average punt yardage as a junior. Due to his collegiate success, he received the nickname "Punt God". Araiza joined the National Football League (NFL) when he was selected by the Buffalo Bills in the sixth round of the 2022 NFL Draft, but was released prior to the 2022 season after being accused of gang rape.

Early life and high school

Araiza grew up in San Diego, California, and attended Rancho Bernardo High School, where he played football and was a hurdler on the track and field team.[1] He made 37 field goals and was a two-time All-America selection as a placekicker.[2] Araiza committed to play college football at San Diego State University (SDSU) over offers from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the University of Montana.[3]

College career

At SDSU, Araiza redshirted his true freshman season for the Aztecs. He also served as the backup to All-Mountain West Conference kicker John Baron II.[4] He became the team's placekicker as a redshirt freshman and made a school-record 22 field goals on 26 attempts and was named honorable mention All-Mountain West.[5] Araiza made 10 of 14 field goal attempts in SDSU's COVID-19-shortened 2020 season and was named honorable mention All-Mountain West for a second straight season. He also assumed punting duties during the team's opening game against UNLV and averaged 49.8 yards on five punts.[6]

In 2021, Araiza was named first-string punter in addition to his kicking duties going into his redshirt junior season and was named a mid-season All-American by ESPN at the position.[7][8] He finished the season averaging 51.19 yards per punt, breaking the NCAA record set by Texas A&M's Braden Mann in 2018 (50.98) and earning himself the nickname "Punt God" from fans.[9][10] Araiza won the Ray Guy Award as the top punter in the nation,[11] and he became the second player in Aztecs history to be named a unanimous All-American.[12] Following the end of the season, Araiza announced that he would be forgoing his final season of eligibility to enter the 2022 NFL Draft.[13]

Professional career

Pre-draft measurables
Height Weight Arm length Hand span 40-yard dash 10-yard split 20-yard split Vertical jump Broad jump
6 ft 1+18 in
(1.86 m)
200 lb
(91 kg)
30+12 in
(0.77 m)
9 in
(0.23 m)
4.68 s 1.61 s 2.71 s 32.0 in
(0.81 m)
10 ft 1 in
(3.07 m)
All values from NFL Combine[14][15]

The Buffalo Bills selected Araiza in the sixth round with the 180th overall pick of the 2022 NFL Draft.[16] He was the third punter selected in the draft.[17] As a rookie, he was named the Bills starting punter following the release of veteran Matt Haack.[18] Araiza did not dress for the Bills' final preseason game on August 26, 2022, one day after a lawsuit accusing him and two former SDSU teammates of rape became public.[19] He was released the next day, on August 27.[20][21]

Personal life

Araiza is of Mexican descent through his father, Rico, who was born in Mexico.[22] Araiza has stated that he does not "necessarily love the nickname" of "Punt God", though recognizes it as a "huge compliment".[23]

Gang rape allegations

In 2022, Araiza was named as a defendant in a civil case in which he and two SDSU teammates were accused of gang raping a then-17-year-old girl, who was under the age of consent in California, at an off-campus party in 2021.[21][12][24][25] Araiza has denied the allegations,[26] with his agent stating, "The facts of the incident are not what they are portrayed in the lawsuit or in the press."[27] Araiza's lawyer described the allegations as "a money grab" from the accuser, which the accuser disputed.[28]


  1. ^ Sherman, Rodger (October 29, 2021). "The Punter That Was Promised Has Arrived". The Ringer. Retrieved November 15, 2021.
  2. ^ "Rancho Bernardo kicker longs for a college try". The San Diego Union-Tribune. November 8, 2017. Retrieved October 29, 2021.
  3. ^ "Record-setting RB kicker scores full ride to SDSU". The San Diego Union-Tribune. December 27, 2017. Retrieved October 29, 2021.
  4. ^ "Aztecs' new kicker Araiza among players to watch at Fan Fest scrimmage". The San Diego Union-Tribune. August 16, 2019. Retrieved October 28, 2021.
  5. ^ Kenney, Kirk (December 21, 2019). "Aztecs football notebook: Kicker Matt Araiza sets SDSU single-season field goal record". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved October 28, 2021.
  6. ^ Vannini, Chris (October 27, 2021). "San Diego State's Matt Araiza is going viral one 80-yard punt at a time, plus latest in conference realignment: G5 Drive". The Athletic. Retrieved October 28, 2021.
  7. ^ "Column: Aztecs' NCAA punting leader Matt Araiza 'can get a ton better'". The San Diego Union-Tribune. October 12, 2021. Retrieved October 28, 2021.
  8. ^ "Aztec Matt Araiza, Rancho Bernardo High Alum, Makes ESPN's Midseason All-America Team". Times of San Diego. October 17, 2021. Retrieved October 29, 2021.
  9. ^ "Johnson leads San Diego State past UTSA 38-24 in Frisco Bowl". AP. December 21, 2021. Retrieved December 22, 2021.
  10. ^ Baer, Jack (April 30, 2022). "NFL draft: Man known as 'Punt God' doesn't seem happy he was 3rd punter taken". Retrieved August 30, 2022.
  11. ^ Kenney, Kirk (December 9, 2021). "Aztecs' Matt Araiza wins Ray Guy Award as nation's top punter". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved December 22, 2021.
  12. ^ a b "NFL punter Matt Araiza and two San Diego State football players accused in gang-rape lawsuit". Los Angeles Times. August 25, 2022. Retrieved August 26, 2022.
  13. ^ Ugetti, Paolo (December 28, 2021). "San Diego State football record-setting punter Matt Araiza entering NFL draft". Retrieved January 3, 2022.
  14. ^ "Matt Araiza Draft and Combine Prospect Profile". Retrieved April 30, 2022.
  15. ^ "2022 Draft Scout Matt Araiza, San Diego State NFL Draft Scout College Football Profile". Retrieved April 30, 2022.
  16. ^ Skurski, Jay (May 2, 2022). "In 'Punt God' Matt Araiza, Bills getting a promising prospect, but far from a finished product". The Buffalo News. Archived from the original on May 2, 2022. Retrieved May 2, 2022.
  17. ^ "Buffalo Bills cut rookie punter Matt Araiza after gang rape allegation". The Guardian. Associated Press. August 27, 2022. Retrieved September 1, 2022.
  18. ^ Patra, Kevin (August 22, 2022). "Bills rookie punter Matt Araiza wins job after release of Matt Haack".
  19. ^ Winkley, Lindsay; Figueroa, Teri (August 27, 2022). "Buffalo Bills punter Araiza benched day after SDSU gang-rape lawsuit filed". San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved August 27, 2022.
  20. ^ "Bills release rookie punter Matt Araiza following gang rape allegation in civil lawsuit". Retrieved August 28, 2022.
  21. ^ a b "Bills release punter Matt Araiza". Bills Wire. August 27, 2022. Retrieved August 28, 2022.
  22. ^ Uggetti, Paolo (November 10, 2021). "Why college football's must-see attraction is a punter from San Diego State". ESPN. Retrieved November 23, 2021.
  23. ^ "Matt Araiza, the man they call 'Punt God' is coming to the Bills". Retrieved May 6, 2022.
  24. ^ Shalby, Colleen; Lopez, Robert J. (August 26, 2022). "Diary describes alleged rape at the center of lawsuit against NFL punter Matt Araiza". San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved August 27, 2022.
  25. ^ Wawrow, John (August 26, 2022). "Bills' investigation of Araiza didn't include alleged victim". San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved August 27, 2022.
  26. ^ "Matt Araiza: Buffalo Bills release punter after rape allegation". BBC. August 28, 2022. Retrieved August 28, 2022.
  27. ^ "Matt Araiza releases statement addressing rape allegations". WKBW. August 27, 2022. Retrieved August 27, 2022.
  28. ^ Gore, Chris; Luciano, Lilia (August 30, 2022). "Teenager accusing Matt Araiza and 2 other former SDSU football players of rape speaks out; Araiza family issues statement". Archived from the original on August 30, 2022. Retrieved August 30, 2022.

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