The Ray Guy Award is given out to the best punter throughout the country. The preseason watch list was announced early yesterday and included Colorado State’s true senior Ryan Stonehouse. There was only one other Mountain West player selected, the one being New Mexico’s Tyson Dyer.
@_RyanStonehouse | @CSUFootball @t_dyer96 | @UNMLoboFB pic.twitter.com/rS37eH1gsm— Mountain West (@MountainWest) July 22, 2020
One of the least surprising watch list additions thus far, Stonehouse has been a household name in Colorado for the past three seasons as he has held down the punter position for the Rams. In 2019, he averaged a conference leading 46.4 yards per punt (9th nationally) on 49 attempts, nailing his opponents inside their 20 on 13 occasions. He also netted 16 punts of 50 or more yards, 5 touchbacks, and was able to force 9 fair catches.
His average declined from a stellar 48.3 a season ago, but the drop was designed by himself and his special teams coaches. With improved hang time and ability to place balls where he wants them, he allowed CSU’s punt-coverage unit to rank sixth nationally in net punting at 42.3 yards per attempt.
Stonehouse’s play has reeled in first-team All-Mountain West honors the past two seasons and he was able to earn honorable mention recognition as a true freshman in 2017. Last year, he was named to the midseason Guy Award watch list. Currently, he owns a career yards per punt average of 47.0.
He heads into his senior season as the Rams’ career punting leader with an elite 47.0 yards per attempt, which lands him first nationally among all punters in active career average. If he is able to maintain that mark in 2020, he will hold both the FBS and Mountain West record for career punting average as they currently sit at 46.3 and 45.4 respectively.
Since its inception back in 2000, no Mountain West player has ever received the Ray Guy. In fact, there have only been three Group of Five players to win the award, Louisiana Tech’s Ryan Allen in both 2011 and 2012, as well as Memphis’ Tom Hornsey in 2013. Last year’s winner was Kentucky’s Max Duffey who led the FBS in average yards per punt at a whopping 48.10. Stonehouse has the leg and ability to hoist the trophy in 2020, but with his offense being so stout, it may be difficult for him to see the field.
The Ray Guy Award is announced annually by the Augusta Sports Council annually. They trim the watch list down to 10 semifinalists on November 24th and three finalists on December 2nd. The national winner will be announced on December 10th during the Home Depot College Football Awards Show on ESPN.