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Thomson's Ray Guy has a week of honors

Ray Guy had a great week.

The former Thomson Bulldog, considered the best punter in the history of football, became the first at that position to be inducted into the National Football Foundation's College Hall of Fame on Dec. 7 in New York.

Then on Dec. 9, the award for the best current punter in college football -- named after Mr. Guy -- was given to Baylor University's Daniel Sepulveda as part of ESPN's College Football Awards Show in Orlando, Fla.

The college hall of fame announcement came in late April, a week after Mr. Guy was chosen for induction into the National High School Sports Hall of Fame. That puts him two down and one to go.

The professional hall of fame is the one honor that continues to elude Mr. Guy, year after year. But he hopes this recent induction will be on the minds of the NFL voters.

"It's really exciting. I'm really honored to get both of them," Mr. Guy said. "It's a good stepping stone for (the Pro Football Hall of Fame). Of course it's entirely different, NFL and college and high school. ... But we'll just have to wait and see on that. We'll take it one step at a time."

Mr. Guy averaged 44.7 yards per punt at Southern Mississippi from 1970-72. He rocketed three punts more than 70 yards, including a record 93-yard smash during his senior season.

In 1972, Mr. Guy led the nation in punting with a 46.2-yard average. He played in the Senior Bowl, East-West Game, All-America Bowl and College All-Star Game after earning first team All-American honors.

Mr. Guy then became the first and only punter to be drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft. He played 14 seasons in the NFL and won three Super Bowl rings with the Oakland Raiders.

"For me, kicking was just another thing to do that was fun," Mr. Guy told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "I had no idea that it would some day carry me to the Hall of Fame."

As for the Ray Guy Award, the only question for the winner Sepulveda is: will his leg have an encore?

Sepulveda was given the Ray Guy Award by the Greater Augusta Sports Council -- as a sophomore.

"I think that is a good goal, and I think it's attainable," Sepulveda said. "I still have a lot of room for improvement. I guess I'm going back to work."

There hasn't been a two-time winner of the award, which is now five years old, but Sepulveda will likely have two chances to become the first. The Dallas native beat out Michigan State sophomore Brandon Fields and UCLA senior Chris Kluwe to win the award.

This season, Sepulveda placed 26 of his 62 punts inside the opposing 20-yard line. That percentage (41.9) led the country. Additionally this year, he hit five punts that traveled more than 60 yards, and 24 that went farther than 50 yards. His net average of 42.5 yards per kick was second in the nation.

"Honestly, I am (surprised)," Sepulveda said. "Even before the season, I didn't see this coming."

Sepulveda won by taking a majority of a combined vote from college coaches, sports information directors and sports writers. Sepulveda will be honored at a gala, hosted by the Greater Augusta Sports Council, early next year.

Staff Writer Kristopher Wells contributed to this story.



Web posted on Thursday, December 16, 2004











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