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Bevelhimer: Backup punter turned best in the conference

Revelhimer punted five times for 166 yards in the Cure Bowl
Revelhimer punted five times for 166 yards in the Cure Bowl

In the fast-paced world of American football, quarterbacks, receivers, touchdowns and field goals often take the spotlight. However, football at Miami University looks a little different. Players are recognized all across the field after a remarkable year. 

Finishing the season 11-3 with a 7-1 record in the Mid-American Conference (MAC) and a MAC championship under their belt, the RedHawks acknowledge some of the star players that made these victories happen. 

For one player, his career began and took off fast during the 2023 season: Junior punter Alec Bevelhimer from Indianapolis first saw the field for an extended time this season. After being thrust into the first game against the University of Miami as the backup punter, he took the responsibility confidently. 

Head Coach Chuck Martin admires his ability to take the lead.

“From Miami, Florida, right through the MAC championship game, he just did an amazing job with situations where backups throughout the college career would quit,” Martin said. “A lot of kids transfer, but he stayed, and he worked really hard. He kept waiting his time, and when he finally got his opportunity, he made more than the most of it.”

For Bevelhimer, the world of football was somewhat new as he began high school. Having never played the sport before, he followed the lead of his older brother, Drew, a former kicker for the Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School.

“I grew up in a soccer family,” Bevelhimer said. “My dad was a Division I soccer player, so soccer was just kind of everything until I decided to go play football in high school.” 

Soon after beginning his football career, Bevelhimer was offered to play at Miami. He took a liking to the football program as well as the Farmer School of Business and accepted, describing it as, “the best of both worlds.”

During his first couple of seasons, Bevelhimer rarely saw the field, having one punt in 2021 before switching to long snapper in 2022. While most athletes would seek out other options, Bevelhimer stuck with the RedHawks.

“I never really thought about leaving,” Bevelhimer said. “The grass isn’t always greener.” 

For Martin, the consistency and strong work ethic in Bevelhimer was admirable, and he serves as a leading example for younger players. 

“When kids just give up or move on, he keeps grinding through it,” Martin said. “He got more and more consistent, and when the opportunity presented itself he took full advantage of it.” 

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When the University of Cincinnati game arrived, Bevelhimer shined, contributing to the RedHawks’ 31-24 victory, Miami’s first over the Bearcats since 2005. He had two 60-plus yard punts that helped bring the Victory Bell back to Oxford

Bevelhimer would finish the season with 19 50-plus yard punts. He pinned the opponent inside their own 20-yard line 28 times and kicked it out of the end zone just four. 

Before having a rough game in the Cure Bowl, Bevelhimer was leading the MAC in punt average and in the top 15 of the country. He was also named to the 2023 All-MAC Second Team punter.

“This year totally changed me as a player,” Bevelhimer said. “Just kind of getting that experience and having a new perspective for what I can achieve has refueled me.”

Although technicality is not the only thing contributing to a punter's game, Bevelhimer has worked hard over his years to develop the mental aspect of it all as well. 

“I try to keep my mind off of football as much as I can outside of practice,” Bevelhimer said. “When the bus ride comes Friday and we’re going to the game it's about whatever else I can get my mind on, we play Uno, that kind of stuff.” 

With a successful season under their belt, being one of four Miami teams ever to win 10 regular season games, the RedHawks are ready to come back next year with returning stars and new additions to come.  

Bevelhimer plans to return for his final season. With a full off-season after playing, he knows the kind of player he can be and says he will “leave no stone left unturned.”

Concluding the year, Martin expresses his appreciation for the team and the program.

“It was a great year and a great group of kids, and a lot of fun for everyone involved in Miami football,” Martin said. “I am very proud to be a part of it and very proud of our kids.”

The MAC champions will return in full swing for their 2024 season next fall.