I know it’s not Monday. Don’t panic! This is a special edition of the Third Phase. We’re publishing this now so we can get it out there for you the viewing public to enjoy.
The Augusta Sports Council announced its 10 semifinalists Thursday for the Ray Guy Award. Yes, we have 10 semifinalists narrowed down from a list of 78. Without further ado, here are the 10 semifinalists:
Mitch Wishnowsky, Utah
This was undoubtedly a lock. We’re talking about the defending Ray Guy Award winner here. Wishnowsky has a chance to continue the streak of winners from Utah. He’s tied for ninth in the country in average yards per punt with 45.4.
Michael Dickson, Texas
Dickson was a finalist last year. It would be foolish to leave him off this year. He’s been terrific all season for the Longhorns. Dickson leads the Big 12 in average punting yards and took over the lead in the nation from Florida’s Johnny Townsend. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Wishnowsky and Dickson as finalists again.
Drue Chrisman, Ohio State
Chrisman, a redshirt freshman, has been a solid component for the Buckeyes special teams this season. Of his 29 punts this season, 18 have gone inside the 20. He’s had eight boots that went 50-yards or longer. If you need any more convincing on the greatness of Chrisman, just check out his other talents.
Joseph Davidson, Bowling Green
It hasn’t been a good season for Bowling Green. Fortunately, they have a really good punter in Joseph Davidson. Davidson leads the MAC in average punting yards with 44.2. He’s well on his way to leading the conference in punting for the third straight season.
Yannis Routsas, University of Texas-San Antonio
First of all, Routsas has a great Twitter handle. He’s tied for seventh in Conference USA in averaging punting yards with 41.8. His longest boot of the season went 61 yards. He’s punted 40 times this season, but more than half of his punts have been effective. Routsas has 24 punts inside the 20. In fact, nine punts went 50-yards or more this season.
Corey Fatony, Missouri
Fatony has been solid all season for the Tigers. He’s third in the SEC and sixth nationally in average punting yards with 46. Fatony is on pace for one of his best seasons, even though he hasn’t punted nearly as much. He punted 81 times his freshman season. Unless Fatony punts the ball 40 times in the next couple of games, I don’t think he’ll reach that mark.
Cody Grace, Arkansas State
Grace sits sixth in the Sun Belt in average punting yards with 42.2. Of Grace’s 39 punts, 21 of them have gone inside the 20. He hasn’t booted the ball a long way like many of his counterparts on the list. Grace’s longest punt is 55 yards. However, eight punts have gone 50 or more yards this season.
JK Scott, Alabama
I mentioned last week that I thought Scott would make a very good semifinalist candidate. And he certainly proved it. I think he could be a finalist. Alabama is a great football program and they no doubt have a great punter. Scott led the NCAA in punting in 2014. He’s been consistently towards the top ever since. This season, he’s second in the SEC and ninth nationally in average punting yards.
Cameron Nizialek, Georgia
Nizialek has made the most of his graduate transfer opportunity with the Bulldogs. He’s currently fifth in the SEC in average punting yards with 44.5. Of Nizialek’s 41 punts this season, 20 have gone inside the 20. He had four each going inside the 20 versus both Auburn and Notre Dame. If you need any better proof that Nizialek is a worthy candidate, just look at his Twitter avatar.
Corey Bojorquez, New Mexico
I’m happy to see Bojorquez make this list. I hope he can be one of the finalists. He’s been a solid punter for New Mexico all season long. He’s second in the Mountain West and fourth nationally in average punting yards with 47.3. Of his 46 punts, 23 have gone inside the 20. In fact, 20 of his punts went 50 yards or more. His three longest punts were 78, 75 and 71. Bojorquez can really boot it.
That is your list. As you can probably tell, I didn’t do very well. I only got 4 out of the 10 right. I correctly had Dickson, Wishnowsky, Bojorquez and Scott. But hey, 4 out of 10 ain’t bad. If this was baseball, I’d be Ted Williams. Don’t worry, it’s not baseball and I’m not Ted Williams. I won’t even try to guess the final three.
That’s not the only tidbit of news. The Augusta Sports Council announced that you, yes YOU can vote for the Ray Guy Award. The winning total will be counted as one national selection committee vote. So go ahead! Do it! VOTE!
The finalists will be announced on Tuesday. Because of that, the column won’t be out on Monday. You can bet on it for Tuesday or Wednesday.