Friday morning, the Augusta Sports Council announced Hayden Hunt has been named one of 10 semifinalists for the Ray Guy Award, which is annually awarded to college football’s most outstanding punter for the season.
Hunt has been impressive all season, currently leading the nation with a net punting average of 43.3, and a gross average of 46.3 which ranks fourth.
Of Hunt’s 41 punts this season for Colorado State, only one has been a touchback, which is the best among punters ranked in the top 10 in punting average. Of those 41 punts, 19 have been marked inside the 20-yard line, which is also best among the top 10.
The junior punter has shown off his big leg all season, booting 11 punts at least 50 yards, making him a true weapon in the field advantage battle. Hunt has also been consistently forcing opponents to fair catch the ball, which has happened on 14 of his 41 punts.
The Long Beach native was named one of 79 candidates in October, an accomplishment he has achieved in all three seasons he has played for CSU, but this is the first time Hunt has been a semifinalist.
Punters rarely receive the praise that skill players get on a regular basis, but they deserve love too. Hunt’s ability to flip the field for Colorado State on a regular basis has kept them in games all year, forcing the opponents to go on long drives to score.
Most recently against Wyoming, Hunt booted a booming punt that traveled 67 yards in the air before going out of bounds at the 5-yard line. A few plays later Wyoming turned the ball over.
The next three games will be huge for Hunt’s chances of winning the award, along with CSU’s chances of making a bowl game. No player from the Mountain West Conference has ever won the award.
The other semifinalists are Michael Carrizosa (San Jose State), Riley Dixon (Syracuse), Tom Hackett (Utah, 2014 winner), Cameron Johnston (Ohio State), Drew Kaser (Texas A&M), Alex Kinal (Wake Forest), Nick Porebski (Oregon State), Austin Seibert (Oklahoma) and Johnny Townsend (Florida).
Collegian Sports Reporter Justin Michael can be reached by email at email@example.com or on Twitter @JustinTMichael.