In this edition of 100 Days, 100 Detroit Lions, we honor one of the great receivers and return men of the powerful Lions offenses of the early 1960s.
43. Pat Studstill
Wide Receiver / Punter. 1961-67 Detroit; 1968-71 Los Angeles Rams; 1972 New England Patriots
Studstill, a Louisiana native, played his college ball at the University of Houston and joined the Lions in 1961. The 6-foot, 180 pound Studstill spent the first three years of his Lion career mainly as a return man. In 1962, he led the league in punt returns (29), return yards (457), and return average (15.8). His 457 return yards that season still ranks second in Lions’ history, and his return average that year remains in the number-one spot all-time. His career punt return average of 12.1 yards ranks only behind the immortal Jack Christiansen on the Leos’ all-time list. He also returned 75 kickoffs, for 1,924 yards and a touchdown. His career kickoff return average is an impressive 25.7 yards-per-attempt.
Pat had a breakout-year as a receiver in 1966 as he caught 67 passes, for a league-leading 1,266 yards (18.9 avg.) and 5 touchdowns. His yardage total remains the highest for any Lion receiver outside of the pass-happy 1990’s trio of Herman Moore, Brett Perriman, and Germane Crowell.
Studstill’s strongest skill however might have been his punting. He took over for the retired Yale Lary as the Lion punter in 1965, and posted a league leading 78 punts, averaging 42.8 yards-per-boot. He remained a punter throughout the rest of his NFL career, including stops with the Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots. His ended his NFL career with a punting average of 40.7 yards-per-attempt. Pat went to the Pro Bowl twice with the Lions, as a punter in 1966, and as a receiver in 1967.