There aren’t a lot of people like Barney Amor.
Amor has established himself as a quality punter. College football has plenty of quality punters. But college football doesn’t have a lot of players that have lived in three countries. Amor was born in Amsterdam and has lived in New York, Pennsylvania and Switzerland. And it doesn’t have a lot of players that go two years without playing in a game and immediately perform without skipping a beat.
Amor’s 2020 season at Colgate got wiped out due to COVID-19. When he transferred to Penn State before the 2021 campaign, he didn’t get to punt during the season, playing behind All-American and Ray Guy Award finalist Jordan Stout.
It doesn’t have a lot of players that get presented with a scholarship by Eli Manning, AKA Chad Powers, and there probably aren’t too many 23-year-olds in general that have Amor’s sense of perspective.
He knows his journey has been an interesting one.
“It’s an experience that not many people my age have,” Amor told reporters via Zoom Tuesday morning.
A big emphasis for Amor is to control what he can control.
He couldn’t control COVID wrecking what would have been his fourth season at Colgate. He couldn’t control travel restrictions forbidding him from going to Switzerland and being with his parents during the height of the pandemic.
When Amor tried to find another school to punt for and DM’d every Division I special teams coach in the country, he couldn’t control which ones would respond. When he landed at Penn State before last season, he couldn’t control Stout being one of the best punters in college football and the obvious starter.
But he can control his punting, and not many have done it better than Amor this season.
Amor has punted 18 times and averaged 46.1 yards, and he’s placed half of those punts inside the 10-yard line. Three of his four punts against Central Michigan this past Saturday landed inside the 10, and one of them turned into a muffed-fair catch that became a Penn State touchdown.
Amor has become a big part of Penn State’s success, and he loves it.
“There’s a lot of things that, especially just throughout my journey, that have kind of been uncontrollable, you know?” he said. “So make the most out of everything. Just enjoy it.”
Penn State loves it, too.
“Talk about a guy that’s maximized his experience,” Coach James Franklin said in Tuesday’s weekly press conference. “I think he’s got seven degrees now or seven pieces of paper, whether they’re degrees or certificates or whatever it is, from a combination of his previous institution [Colgate] as well as at Penn State. He’s just been phenomenal.”
Amor entered a different college football universe when he came to Penn State. Colgate is Division I, but it’s hardly the Big Ten.
“I feel like the fans at Colgate are like your parents,” Amor said. “It’s like high school.”
Penn State is a little different.
“Here, there’s, what, 100 and probably seven thousand more people that show up.”
Of course, the differences between Colgate and Penn State are more than just the crowd size.
“I came here, and I was like shocked that there’s apples in the fridge and there’s drinks that are there 24/7, so you’re never hungry,” Amor said. “You always have access to nutritional resources, stuff like that.”
“We have analysts here. We have coaches here. We have so many different resources that you just don’t have at the FCS level, to be honest with you.”
Amor’s performance against Central Michigan earned him much affection from Penn State fans.
Barney Amor!!! You absolute stud, you!
— #WeAre (@WeAre_PSULions) September 24, 2022
But fans who want Amor to retweet what they post about him will probably be disappointed. In a show of restraint that many people wish they had, Amor doesn’t use Twitter much.
“I try not to let everything get to my head,” Amor said. “Because with good news, it’s great, and bad news, it’s not great. So it goes both ways.”
Amor said he only uses Twitter occasionally to see if his friends sent him anything interesting. On the contrary, Amor’s parents, Marie and Andy, love to read about their son.
“I’m surprised my dad still does his job, to be honest with you,” Amor said.
Amor said his father enjoys sending reports of Barney’s success in family group chats. Although Barney isn’t interested in reading about himself, he understands the joy it’s brought his family.
“It’s been great,” he said. “I mean, there’s people that, even my mom was saying the other day, there’s people she just hasn’t heard from in a while that have just reached out, and they’re just like happy for you, which is great.”
“Great” is also a word Franklin used to describe his punter.
“I’m very proud that he’s at Penn State and part of our family,” Franklin said, “because he’s been a tremendous mentor and leader that brings a different lens, which I also think is important. He’s been great.”
Eight games remain in Penn State’s 2022 campaign, plus whatever postseason opportunities the Nittany Lions get.
We don’t know how Barney Amor’s year will end up. But he’s already a winner, and knows how to appreciate all of his days at Penn State while he’s in the moment.
“There’s so many people that would kill to be in my position, kill to be in a position like anyone else on this team,” Amor said, “and I feel like you just start to appreciate the little things, and it just makes the whole entire journey, experience so much better.”