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The Third Phase Punting Awards Show
We did it! We made it through an entire regular season of college football. Granted, we do have the Army-Navy game still to go, but we’ve approached the bowl season. What does that mean? It means we’re in award season. Everybody loves this part of the season. Right? …Right?
The Ray Guy Award will be announced this week. For this edition of The Third Phase, we’ll give out our awards. We’ll announce the Third Phase Punter of the Year Award, and also give out awards to other FBS conferences.
Let’s give it a go on the first ever Third Phase Punting Awards Show. PLAY THAT MUSIC…
Third Phase Punter of the Year/Big 12- Michael Dickson of Texas
You could’ve made a case for any of the finalists. However, I think Michael Dickson is the best punter in college football. It makes sense to give Dickson the award, not only for being the best in the Big 12 but the best nationally.
He proved it week in and week out. The performances that Dickson put on against Oklahoma State and Iowa State were flat out amazing.
If I had a vote for Ray Guy, he’s my pick. I think that now. In fact, it’s something I’ve thought about for most of the season. He’s that damn good.
I sincerely hope this is the week that Dickson gets all that praise. He deserves the recognition.
SEC- Johnny Townsend of Florida
If there had to be a runner-up in the Punter of the Year contest, I think it’s Johnny Townsend. He was great when the Gators weren’t. He went back-and-forth with Dickson in terms of leading the nation in average punting yards. Dickson had the edge nationally, but Townsend still led the SEC.
And it isn’t like there wasn’t stiff competition in the SEC. This was a good year of punting in the conference. You have JK Scott of Alabama, Trevor Daniel of Tennesee, Corey Fatony of Missouri, even Shane Trupicka of Texas A&M.
Townsend stands out among the others, even with Scott being a finalist for the Ray Guy Award. I said last week that I thought Townsend should’ve been a finalist and I remain firm in that belief today. It’s a tough omission. Nonetheless, I think the Gators will miss his efforts next season. He’s going to be tough to replace.
ACC- Lester Coleman of Virginia
When we talk about overlooked punters, I think you can include Lester Coleman on that list. He didn’t even make the Ray Guy semifinalist list. He definitely should’ve been considered. Coleman did get named second-team all-ACC but come on, you all can do better than that.
He got three punts inside the 20 against the Hurricanes in an upset the Cavs nearly pulled off. Of Coleman’s 71 punts this season, 28 landed inside the 20. He also had 23 punts go 50-yards or longer, with his longest being 63-yards.
It’s tough because the ACC didn’t get a lot of attention when it came to punting this season. And there are some good punters in that conference. You have Tom Sheldon of North Carolina, Ryan Winslow of Pitt, even Dom Maggio of Wake Forest. But there were no Ray Guy semifinalists out of the ACC. Meanwhile, the SEC had three. What can you do, though?
Big Ten- Drue Chrisman of Ohio State
Ohio State might not be in the College Football Playoff, but that’s okay. Their players will likely win some awards. One of those players happens to be their punter, Drue Chrisman.
Of his 44 punts this season, half of them landed inside the 20. Chrisman also had 13 punts go 50-yards or longer. His longest punt went 62 yards. Additionally, Chrisman was the only Big Ten punter to be named a Ray Guy semifinalist.
Unfortunately for the rest of B1G, this wasn’t the best year for punters. Chrisman really was the best in the B1G. It’s not like B1G doesn’t have good punters. Sometimes, it just doesn’t work out for teams.
Pac-12- Mitch Wishnowsky of Utah
This was closer than you think. Stanford’s Jake Bailey was overlooked by everybody. He was good this year. But Wishnowsky is great. He’s undoubtedly the best punter in the Pac-12 and one of the best in the country.
Wishnowsky is great enough that it’s very possible that he wins the Ray Guy Award for a second straight year. If he wins, he’ll definitely cement Utah’s status as Punter U.
How can you not consider Wishnowsky one of the best? He’s done so much for the Utah program. Let’s not forget that he kicked an onside kick to himself. The greatness is there.
AAC- Mac Loudermilk of Central Florida
There were a few routes we could have gone in the AAC. Loudermilk has been solid for the Knights this season. He’s punted the ball 41 times, with 19 of them landing inside the 20.
Loudermilk’s longest punt this season went 69-yards against UConn. I’m going to end it here before I start seeing NICE everywhere.
Mountain West- Corey Bojorquez of New Mexico
Bojorquez was proudly named the lone semifinalist out of the Mountain West. He’s great and he should be honored.
Of Bojorquez’s 59 punts, 30 of them landed inside the 20. He also had 26 punts go 50-yards or longer. By far, Bojorquez was the best punter in the Mountain West. I wish he would’ve been a finalist for the Ray Guy Award.
MAC- Derek Adams of Kent State
Adams is a terrific punter for Kent State. He punted the ball 79 times this season, which is a lot. Twenty of his punts landed inside the 20. Adams also had 18 punts go longer than 50 yards, including a 74-yarder against Northern Illinois.
Conference USA- Kaare Vedvik of Marshall
This name should be close to your heart. As someone who is part Norwegian, it’s close to my heart. You might remember him for his 92-yard punt earlier this season. Vedvik also led the conference in average punting yards with 44.4
Sun Belt- Corliss Waitman of South Alabama
Waitman is one of the top punters in the country. He led the Sun Belt in average punting yards with 45.2. That average is also seventh best in the nation. Of his 70 punts, 26 have landed inside the 20 and 21 have gone longer than 50 yards.