2016 Preseason Award Projections: Ray Guy Award

By Charlie Campbell
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Heading into the 2016 college football season, WalterFootball.com will debut our projections for the nation’s leaders during the fall. The All-American teams always have some surprises, and the next fall’s stars could be the headline players next April for the 2017 NFL Draft. We also will project the winners of the postseason awards that are given out to the best of college football.

The Ray Guy Award is given to the best punter in college football. Last year’s winner was Utah punter Tom Hackett, who won the Ray Guy Award for the second straight seasons.

Ray Guy Award Winner:

JK Scott, Alabama

Scott had a drop in his numbers during 2015 from his freshman year, but the sophomore still was an excellent punter for the Crimson Tide. In 2015, he had an average of 44 yards and a long of 59 yards. Scott was superb as a freshman for Alabama in 2014. He averaged a booming 48 yards per punt with a long of 73. It turned out to be the best season ever for a punter in Alabama school history. Scott dropped 56 percent of his punts inside the opponent’s 20-yard line (31-for-55). He was a First-Team All-SEC selection and finalist for the Ray Guy Award that season.

I think Scott will be better as a junior and closer to his freshman form. One of the reasons for that is Alabama’s offense lost talent to the NFL in the form of Derrick Henry, the program’s offensive bell cow. The Crimson Tide also lost their starting quarterback. I think Alabama may not move the ball as well and Scott won’t be trying to pin as many punts, thus his average could go up. Due to all that, he’s my pick for the Guy Award.

Ray Guy Award Runner-Up:

Austin Rehkow, Idaho

Rehkow has been a model of consistency over the past three seasons. He averaged 47.8 yards per punt as a freshman and sophomore. Rehkow had long punts of 73 and 65 yards in those seasons, so he has a powerful leg as well. As a junior, Rehkow averaged 45.7 yards per punt with a long of 65. There is no reason to think he won’t be as successful in 2016, and he should definitely is in the running for the Ray Guy Award.

Ray Guy Award Dark Horse:

Justin Vogel, Miami

Vogel averaged 42.5 yards per punt in 2015, his second year at Miami. He transferred there and took over as the Hurricanes’ punter in 2014 after not winning the punting job at Florida. He averaged 43 yards per punt with a long of 65 during his first year with Miami. Vogel also had 12 punts over 50 yards and 21 placed inside the 20. His father, Paul, played linebacker for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Houston Oilers.

Honorable Mentions: Colorado State’s Hayden Hunt, Nebraska’s Sam Foltz, Ohio State’s Cameron Johnston, Bowling Green’s Joseph Davidson, San Jose State’s Michael Carrizosa, Memphis’ Spencer Smith and Florida’s Johnny Townsend.

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