JONEBSORO, Ark. (11/16/17) – Arkansas State sophomore punter Cody Grace was among 10 semifinalists announced Thursday by the Augusta Sports Council for the prestigious Ray Guy Award.
Grace and the other nine semifinalists were chosen from a field of 78 nominated candidates for the award that honors the nation's top college punter. He is the fourth all-time Arkansas State player to be tabbed a candidate, but is now the first ever to be named a semifinalist. Luke Ferguson (2014 and 2015), Brett Shrable (2008) and Andy Shatley (2000) all previously represented A-State on the Ray Guy Award list of candidates.
The 2017 candidates were evaluated by the Ray Guy Award committee on their overall statistics and contribution to the team. Particular emphasis was placed on net punting average, number of times a punt was downed or kicked out-of-bounds inside the opponent's 20-yard line, total yardage punted, average returned yardage and percentage of punts not returned. The winner must display team leadership, self-discipline and have a positive impact on the team's success.
A national voting body of Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) sports information directors, national media and previous Ray Guy Award winners will decide the three award finalists who will be announced on Tuesday, Nov. 21. Voters will then vote again to determine the winner who will be announced live on Thursday, Dec. 7, at The Home Depot College Football Awards on ESPN in Atlanta, Georgia.
New this year, the Ray Guy Award will provide one vote as determined by football fans. The Fan Vote is located on the Ray Guy Award web site (RayGuyAward.com) and is equivalent to one national selection committee member's vote. The vote will be included for the selection of the finalists and winner.
Grace has recorded 39 punts for 1,646 yards, giving him a 42.2 average per attempt. He has posted eight punts covering at least 50 yards, including a long of 55 yards in the Red Wolves' season opener at Nebraska. Grace has seen 21 of his punts result in a fair catch, as well as 19 pin A-State's opponents inside their own 20-yard line.
The Perth, Western Australia, native holds a 42.0 net punting average that ranks as the 10th highest in the nation. Grace hasn't allowed a touchback this season and has seen 35 of his 39 punting attempts go unreturned for an .897 percentage. The Red Wolves' punt return defense is allowing just two yards per attempt to lead the conference and rank fourth in the nation.
2017 Ray Guy Award Semifinalists
Bojorquez, Corey - University of New Mexico
Chrisman, Drue - Ohio State University
Davidson, Joseph - Bowling Green State University
Dickson, Michael - University of Texas
Fatony, Corey - University of Missouri
Grace, Cody - Arkansas State University
Nizialek, Cameron - University of Georgia
Routsas, Yannis - University of Texas at San Antonio
Scott, JK - University of Alabama