For the second consecutive season, Colorado State punter Hayden Hunt has been named a semifinalist for the Ray Guy Award, annually presented to the nation’s most outstanding punter.
Statistically, Hunt has a 44.2 gross punting average and 42.0 net average and only two touchbacks on the season. Hunt has a big leg, with 12 punts this season traveling at least 50 yards, but his success really comes down to his ability to pin opponents deep with pinpoint accuracy.
Of Hunt’s 44 punts this season, the 2015 All-American has pinned his opponents inside their own 20-yard line 50 percent of the time including 15 punts inside the 15-yard line (34 percent), seven inside the 10 (16 percent) and three inside the 5 (7 percent).
Hunt has been named the Ray Guy Award Punter of the Week twice this season for his efforts against UTSA (Sept. 10) and Boise State (Oct. 17). Against the Road Runners of UTSA, the California native averaged 46.7 yards over seven punts, placing five inside the Road Runner’s 20-yard line.
Against No. 15 Boise State, Hunt averaged 43.3 yards over seven punts, with two traveling 50-plus yards and four being marked inside the Broncos’ 20-yard line. Hunt also attempted three on-side kicks in a row, two of which were successful.
Hunt is also 2-2 on fake punts, converting on 29-yard pass to safety Braylin Scott against Minnesota and rushing for a six-yard fourth down conversion against Utah State.
The Augusta Sports Council will narrow the list to three finalists on Nov. 22, with a national body of FBS sports information directors, coaches, media representatives and previous winners voting. The 2016 winner will be featured live on ESPN during The Home Depot College Football Awards on Dec. 8, from the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, Georgia.
The other semifinalists are Austin Barnes (Eastern Michigan), Nicholas Conte (Virginia), Steven Coutts (Louisiana-Lafayette), Joseph Davidson (Bowling Green), Michael Dickson (Texas), Cameron Johnston (Ohio State), Zach Sinor (Oklahoma State), Johnny Townsend (Florida) and Mitch Wishnowsky (Utah).
Collegian sports reporter Justin Michael can be reached by email at email@example.com or Twitter @JustinTMichael.