Congrats to San Diego State’s Matt Araiza and Colorado State’s Trey McBride, who both took home some well-deserved hardware Thursday night.
Araiza was named the winner of the Ray Guy Award, which goes to the top punter in college football.
Similarly, McBride was the recipient of the John Mackey Award, given to the best tight end in the nation.
Both were the clear choices. But we know in college football, the most deserving are not always the ones chosen. Especially when the deserving reside in the Group of 5.
McBride was the best player on a bad Colorado State team and has been for the past two seasons. He returned this year to play with his brother one last season and he made it count. In eleven games, Trey amassed 86 receptions and turned it into an impressive 1017 receiving yards, plus a touchdown for good measure. He did this all while being the focal point of opposing defenses and often seeing double teams. Perhaps even more impressive is he put up these numbers lining up as a traditional tight end and was also responsible for blocking in the run-heavy system.
Araiza became a full-time punter for the first time in his college career this year and ended up having the best season by a college punter ever. His 76 punts went for 3904 yards, good for an incredible 51.4 yard average per punt, the highest ever. He also set records for the most 50 and 60-yards punts, with 39 and 18 respectively. He added six punts for 70+ yards and had two 80-yard punts! He wasn’t just a one-trick pony, as he was able to land 36 inside the 20-yard line and had a 44.3 net punt average.
Those stats listed above surely speak for themselves when it comes to winning awards. However, these awards tend to go to Power 5 players and the fear was they would this time around as well. In fact, this appears to be the first (and second) time in the history of the Mountain West that any football player has won a national award.
Come May, Araiza and McBride should both hear their names called in the NFL draft. McBride especially could go as high as the first round of the draft, while Araiza figures to range anywhere from late on day two to anywhere on day three.