One of two returning finalists for the 2015 Ray Guy Award, it’s no surprise that Colorado State punter Hayden Hunt is on the award’s preseason watch list, which was announced Thursday by the Augusta Sports Council. Hunt, a senior from Long Beach, Calif., is one of 27 candidates for the award, which is annually presented to the nation’s best collegiate punter.

In 2015, the All-American ranked fifth nationally with an average of 46.0 yards per punt, while the Rams’ team net punting average of 42.0 ranked fourth in all of college football and led the nation late in the year. Of Hunt’s 52 punts, 15 went at least 50 yards, 24 were marked down inside opponents’ 20-yard line, 18 were fair caught and just one was a touchback. He ranked first among the award’s 10 semifinalists for percentage of punts inside the 20 and fewest touchbacks, second for net average and fourth four gross average.

In a win at Wyoming (Nov. 7), he had a booming punt that traveled 67 yards in the air, being marked out of bounds at the 5-yard line. Three plays later, the Cowboys turned the ball over. Hunt had three other punts land inside the 5 – vs. Air Force on Oct. 17, Hunt had a punt downed at the 1, which resulted in a quick punt and CSU touchdown; his first punt at UTSA (Sept. 26) traveled 56 yards and went out of bounds at the 2-yard line, setting up a safety two plays later; vs. Minnesota (Sept. 12) he had a 73-yard punt downed at the 2-yard line. It was the eighth-longest punt in school history, and the longest since Pete Kontodiakos on Sept. 29, 2012. For his efforts, Hunt was named the Ray Guy Award Player of the Week on Sept. 14.

Additional candidates for the award may be added once the season begins, with the complete list being released on Oct. 28. Ten semifinalists will be announced on Nov. 1, before three finalists are named on Nov. 22. From there, the voting body will cast ballots again to select the nation’s top punter, with the winner being announced live during The Home Depot College Football Awards show on Dec. 8 on ESPN.

Hunt joins center Jake Bennett (Rimington Trophy) for Rams already named to watch lists. The members of the NCFAA are unveiling their preseason watch lists over a 12-day period this month, with 17 of the association’s 22 awards selecting a preseason watch list.

About the NCFAA:

The Ray Guy Award is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA). The NCFAA was founded in 1997 as a coalition of the major collegiate football awards to protect, preserve and enhance the integrity, influence and prestige of the game’s predominant awards. The NCFAA encourages professionalism and the highest standards for the administration of its member awards and the selection of their candidates and recipients. For more information, visit the association’s official website.