From this point forward, the Ray Guy Award should just be called the “Utah Ute Punter / Kyle Whittingham Award,” because the Utes have now won the award three straight years, with two different kickers. Tom Hackett won the award two consecutive years in 2014 and 2015, as a junior and senior. Mitch Wishnowsky has picked up where Tom left off by picking up the 2016 Ray Guy Award. While Tom won the award as a junior and senior, Mitch is just a sophomore, so it’s feasable the Utes could win the award 5 straight eyars.
Here’s the official press release from the Utah Athletic Department:
ATLANTA--Utah sophomore punter Mitch Wishnowsky was announced today as the winner of the Ray Guy Award, which is presented to the nation’s top punter. Wishnowsky accepted the award at The Home Depot ESPN College Football Awards show at the College Football Hall of Fame.
In addition, both he and Utah senior defensive end Hunter Dimick were announced as Walter Camp All-Americans during the show. Wishnowsky made the first team and Dimick made the second team.
Wishnowsky’s Ray Guy Award marks three straight years that a Utah player has been acknowledged as the country’s best punter. Tom Hackett was the 2014 and 2015 Ray Guy Award winner. Utah has had three Ray Guy Award finalists in its history: Wishnowsky, Hackett and Louie Sakoda (2008).
Wishnowsky, who has led Utah to a No. 1 national ranking in net punting (44.90) in his first NCAA season, ranks second in the nation in punt average (48.0), while leading the country in punts inside the 20-yard line (34, tied) and punts inside the 10-yard line (17). He is also No. 1 in nationally in punts of 50+ yards (28, tied) and ranks second in percentage of punts inside the 20 (56.67%, 34-of-60).
Wishnowsky has 60 punts for 2,879 yards and has not had a touchback since the first game of the season and just two total touchbacks all year.
The other finalists were Michael Dickson (Texas) and Cameron Johnston (Ohio State).
This is just the third time that a school has claimed one of the awards sponsored by the National College Football Awards Association for three straight years. Utah joins Penn State (Bednarik Award, 2005-07) and Nebraska (Outland Trophy, 1981-83) in that feat.
With his selection the Walter Camp All-America first team, Wishnowsky has made two of the five teams used by the NCAA to determine the season’s consensus All-Americans. He was announced as a Sporting News first-team All-American on Wednesday. The others are the Associated Press, Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and American Football Coaches Association (AFCA). The Walter Camp is the nation’s oldest All-America team.
Wishnowsky is the second Utah punter ever to make the Walter Camp first team and a Ute has now claimed the spot for three straight years. Two-time Ray Guy Award winner and consensus All-American Tom Hackett was the Walter Camp first-team punter in 2014 and 2015.
Both Wishnowsky and second-team selection Dimick plan to attend the Walter Camp Foundation awards ceremony in New Haven, Conn., in January.
Dimick, a 2016 first-team All-Pac-12 Conference honoree and an Academic All-American, leads the Pac-12 and is tied for third in the nation in sacks (14.5) and is tied for fourth nationally in tackles for loss (20.5). A four-year starter, Dimick has a school-record 29.5 career sacks and his 44.5 career tackles for loss is third all-time at Utah. He is currently tied for the team lead in pass breakups with six and ranks fourth in tackles with 53.
Utah has placed seven players on the Walter Camp All-America first team in its history. The others are Hackett (2014-15), defensive end Nate Orchard (2014), defensive tackle Star Lotulelei (2012), punt returner Shaky Smithson (2010), kicker Louie Sakoda (2008) and offensive lineman Jordan Gross (2002). In addition to Dimick, Utes who have made the Walter Camp second team include quarterback Alex Smith (2004), defensive back Eric Weddle (2006), offensive lineman Zane Beadles (2009) and offensive lineman Caleb Schlauderaff (2010).
Walter Camp, “The Father of American football,” first named an All-America team in 1889. The team is selected by the Football Bowl Subdivision head coaches and sports information directors.
2016 All-America Honors
Sporting News (1st team)
Walter Camp (1st team)
USA Today (1st team)
Sports Illustrated (1st team)
Pro Football Focus (1st team)
SB Nation (1st team)
Sports on Earth (1st team)
College Sports Madness (1st team)
Walter Camp (2nd team)
Sports on Earth (2nd team)
College Sports Madness (2nd team)
Pro Football Focus (2nd team)
USA Today (2nd team)