Nov. 5, 2004
The Greater Augusta Sports Council announced today the top ten semi-finalists for the fifth annual Ray Guy Award, recognizing the nation's top collegiate punter. UCLA senior Chris Kluwe has been named as one of the 10 semifinalists.
Each of the 41 punters on the watch list was evaluated on his overall statistics and contribution to his team with emphasis placed on the following categories: net average, percentage of total punts inside the 20, average return yardage and percentage not returned.
These various components are what made Ray Guy, the award's namesake, a most exceptional punter and these characteristics are indicative of the nation's top collegiate punter. Ray Guy, a former NFL punter (Oakland Raiders, 1973-1986) and 2004 College Football Hall of Fame Inductee, is a native of the Augusta, Georgia area, currently residing in Thomson, Georgia.
On the year, Kluwe is averaging 42.49 yards on 37 kicks with 13 inside the 20-yard line and just six touchbacks. He ranks third in the Pac-10 and 31st nationally in punting. UCLA ranks fifth in the NCAA and second in the Pac-10 in net punting (41.0).
Only 12 of his 37 punts (32.4%) have been returned for an average of 4.7 yards and the longest return has been just 13 yards. Thirty-five percent of his punts have been from midfield or closer to the opponents' goal line, shortening the available field.
In his last five games, since recovering from a sprained ankle, Kluwe is averaging 44.50 on 28 punts (1,246 yards) with eight of at least 50 yards and nine inside the 20-yard line. Only eight of the 23 punts have been returned for 34 net yards.
Against Arizona, he averaged 49.8 yards on five kicks with a long of 61. Twice he pinned the Wildcats inside their 20-yard line (13- and 17-yard line). Only two of his kicks were returned for a total of nine yards.
Kluwe was at his best against Arizona State. He averaged a season-best 52.8 yards on five kicks. His career-long 68-yard punt in the fourth quarter pinned ASU at its 18-yard line and led to an interception. Only two of his kicks were returned for a total of minus-five yards, giving the Bruins a net punt average of 53.8 yards.
A national voting body of Division I-A coaches and sports information directors, media, and former punters will decide the three award finalists and the winner. The 2004 Ray Guy Award recipient will be announced on Thursday, December 9, 2004 on the Home Depot College Football Awards Show, televised live on ESPN. The winner will again be honored at the Greater Augusta Sports Awards Gala in Augusta, Georgia in early 2005. Also honored at the Gala will be the annual G.A.M.E.S. (Greater Augusta Medals for Excellence in Sports) Award winners.
2004 Ray Guy Award Semi-Finalists
Dustin Colquitt, Tennessee, Senior
Gary Cook, UNLV, Senior
Brandon Fields, Michigan State, Sophomore
Bo Freelend, Alabama, Senior
Chris Kluwe, UCLA, Senior
Tom Malone, Southern California, Junior
Matt Payne, Brigham Young, Senior
Adam Podlesh, Maryland, Sophomore
Daniel Sepulveda, Baylor, Sophomore
Steve Weatherford, Illinois, Junior