Colorado State punter Hayden Hunt finished runner-up to Utah’s Tom Hackett for the 2015 Ray Guy Award, going to college football’s most outstanding punter. The award was announced at The Home Depot College Football Awards Show in Atlanta, and live on ESPN.

CSU is one of seven schools nationally to be represented at the College Football Awards Show in each of the past two seasons. In 2014, wide receiver Rashard Higgins was a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award.

“It was a great experience coming out here to Atlanta and representing Colorado State,” Hunt said. “Of course I wanted to win – I’m a competitor in everything that I do – but it’s all about how you react,” Hunt said. “We still have the bowl game to win, and then I’m looking forward to the offseason to get better and improve myself as a punter at CSU.”

Hunt has been a candidate for the award in each of the last three seasons, but was named one of the three finalists for this year’s award by the Augusta Sports Council, a national voting body of FBS coaches, sports information directors, media representatives and previous winners later in the month. He is the fourth Ram to be a finalist for a major college football award, joining Anthony Cesario (1998 Outland finalist), Rashard Higgins (2014 Biletnikoff Award finalist) and Greg Myers, the 1995 winner of the Jim Thorpe Award.

Led by Hunt, CSU ranks second nationally for net punting average (42.4), and among the 10 semifinalists, Hunt’s percentage inside the 20 (46.0 percent.) is first. He additionally is tied for the nation’s lead with just one touchback in 50 attempts (2.0 percent). The junior has 15 punts of at least 50 yards and has produced 17 fair catches. His gross punting average of 46.3 ranks fourth in the nation.

“He’s probably the best punter that I’ve ever seen,” head coach Mike Bobo said earlier this fall. “The impact that he has to flip the field has been a huge weapon, and he’s so unselfish. He’s not worried about his average. He’s not trying to boom every one out. I’ve been around some guys at times that say they’re trying to place it in there and it goes in the end zone; they’re worried about that average. Hayden’s trying to help the team and he’s doing his part. He already has, and will continue to help us win games because of his punting.”

In the Rams’ Border War victory at Wyoming (Nov. 7), Hunt had a booming punt that traveled 67 yards in the air, being marked down at the 5-yard line. Three plays later, the Cowboys turned the ball over. Hunt has had three other punts land inside opponents’ 5 – vs. Air Force on Oct. 17 he had a punt downed at the 1, which resulted in a quick punt and CSU touchdown; at UTSA on Sept. 26, his first punt traveled 56 yards and went out of bounds at the 2-yard line, setting up a safety two plays later; vs. Minnesota on Sept. 12, Hunt had the longest punt of his career, a 73-yarder which was downed at the 2-yard line. It was the eighth-longest punt in school history, and for his efforts he was named the Ray Guy Award Player of the Week two days later.

Hunt, a second-team All-Mountain West selection, is working toward a degree in political science. He arrived to Atlanta on Wednesday, and since has spent time interacting with some of the most notable figures – players, coaches and media personalities – in college football. On Wednesday, he got the chance to talk with legendary punter Ray Guy, and on Thursday he spent time touring the College Football Hall of Fame, where several Rams history was on display.

“The College Football Hall of Fame was a great time, and I got to see a lot of the history of CSU and how it’s being represented on the other side of the country. As for meeting Ray Guy, I’ll never get advice like that from anybody else. He gave me some tips on mentality and punting in tough conditions.”

A huge congrats to Hayden Hunt!