(Photo by BYU Photo/Mark Philbrick)
AUGUSTA, Ga. – The Augusta Sports Council has named BYU senior punter Jonny Linehan to the pre-season watch list for the 2017 Ray Guy Award, which honors the nation’s top collegiate punter.
Linehan, from New Zealand, averaged 42.5 yards per punt in 2016, with 30 punts dropping inside the 20-yard line. He helped the BYU punt team rank No. 6 in average opponent punt return (2.53 yards).
Also a Ray Guy Award candidate last year, Linehan booted 62 punts for 2,649 yards, an average of 42.7 yards per punt in his debut college football season in 2015 after winning three national championships in rugby at BYU. In his first collegiate game, he had five punts against Nebraska for 255 yards, including a 77-yarder. He had 20 of his punts land inside the 20-yardline in 2015 and had 10 of 50 yards or more.
The 29 candidates on the list incorporate a broad spectrum of Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) punters. Finalists, Michael Dickson (Texas) and Mitch Wishnowsky (Utah) – the 2016 winner, have returned to the list. Returning semifinalists include Joseph Davidson (Bowling Green), Johnny Townsend (Florida) and Zach Sinor (Oklahoma State).
The number of eligible candidates for this season will grow when the award opens nominations in September. The complete list of candidates will be released on October 31. In early November, the Ray Guy Award committee will meet to select the 10 semifinalists, who will be announced on November 16. A national body of Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) sports information directors, media representatives and previous Ray Guy Award winners will then vote for the top three finalists to be announced on November 21. After the finalists are named, the voting body will cast ballots again to select the nation’s top punter. The winner will be announced live during The Home Depot College Football Awards airing on ESPN on Thursday, December 7, 2017.
Select the following link to see the entire 2017 watch list.
The Augusta Sports Council created the Ray Guy Award in 2000 to honor Thomson, Georgia, native and College and Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee, Ray Guy. Among the statistics used to identify the winner is net punting average, number of times a punt is downed or kicked out of bounds inside the opponents 20-yard line, total yardage punted, average returned yardage and percentage of punts not returned. The winner must display team leadership, self-discipline and have a positive impact on the team’s success.
The Augusta Sports Council (ASC) enriches the quality of life and economic well-being for the Augusta metropolitan area by supporting and attracting sporting activities. To learn more, visit AugustaSportsCouncil.org.
The Ray Guy Award is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA), which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. The 23 awards boast over 765 years of tradition-selection excellence. Visit www.NCFAA.org to learn more.