2017 Preseason Award Projections: Ray Guy Award

By Charlie Campbell
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Heading into the 2017 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 2018 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 Mitch Wishnowsky. It was the third straight season that the Ray Guy Award went to a player from the Utes program.

Ray Guy Award Winner:

Johnny Townsend, Florida

Townsend was excellent as a junior, averaging 47.9 yards per punt with a long of 62. He was so good that some NFL teams were doing scouting reports on him because there was consideration that he might declare early for the 2017 NFL Draft. Florida’s offense struggled, but Townsend helped the Gators play field position with his booming punts to help his defense. In 2015, Townsend had a quality season for Florida as he averaged 45.4 yards per punt with a long of 61. He averaged 42 yards per punt in 2013 and redshirted in 2014. Townsend is a superb punter who could easily win the Ray Guy Award as a senior.

Ray Guy Award Runner-Up:

JK Scott, Alabama

I picked Scott to win the Ray Guy Award last year, and he punted well in 2016 for the Crimson Tide with an average of 47.2 yards per punt with a long of 66 yards. Scott was superb as a freshman for Alabama in 2014, averaging a booming 48 yards per punt with a long of 73 yards. 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 a finalist for the Ray Guy Award. Scott wasn’t as good as a sophomore in 2015, averaging of 44 yards and recording a long of 59 yards. Scott could have his best season as a senior, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if he wins the Ray Guy Award.

Ray Guy Award Dark Horse:

Will Gleeson, Ole Miss

In 2016, Gleeson averaged 44.1 yards per punt with a long of 60 yards. He had a strong debut for the Rebels in 2014 as he averaged 43 yards per punt with a long of 70 yards. In 2015, Gleeson averaged 41 yards per punt. After losing a lot of offensive talent to the 2017 NFL Draft, Gleeson could see his average go up this coming season. That could help him to land more All-American honors and be a contender for the Ray Guy Award.

Honorable Mentions: Tennessee’s Trevor Daniel and Bowling Green’s Joseph Davidson.

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