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Georgia kicker is best in country

Drew Butler recently was named the recipient of the 2009 Ray Guy Award as the best collegiate punter in the country.

Butler, a sophomore at the University of Georgia, beat out two other punters, Florida's Chas Henry and Michigan's Zoltan Mesko, to win the Ray Guy Award, named after Thomson's Ray Guy, who played punter for 14 years in the NFL. Millions consider Guy the greatest punter in NFL history.

"It's just as huge team award," Butler said in a telephone interview with The Augusta Chronicle after receiving the recent prestigious honor following the Home Depot-ESPNU College Football Awards Show in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. "All the guys on the punt team, we take a lot of pride in our work."

Butler is the son of Kevin Butler, who also was a star punter at Georgia and later went on to punt in the NFL for several years. Most of his years were spent with the Chicago Bears.

When Butler's name was announced as the winner of the Ray Guy Award, he first hugged his mother and then his father before walking upon the stage in front of a large audience. Guy greeted him with a handshake and hug before Butler went on to accept the award.

Butler becomes the second winner of the Ray Guy Award from the State of Georgia. In 2007, former Georgia Tech star punter Durant Brooks was named the top collegiate punter.

The Ray Guy Award criteria includes punting average, net average, number of punts inside the 20, percentage of punts inside the 20, average return and percentage of punts not returned. The winner is actually chosen by a national voting body of football coaches, sports information directors, national media representatives and former Ray Guy Award winners.

Butler will be recognized again on Jan. 14 at the All-Area Football Banquet, presented jointly by the Augusta Sports Council and The Augusta Chronicle . Several years ago, officials with the Augusta Sports Council decided to honor Guy by recognizing the top collegiate punter of the year.

During his sophomore season at Georgia, Butler punted a total of 50 times with 17 of them inside the 20. His longest punt traveled a distance of 75 yards.

Butler credits his teammates for the success he's enjoyed thus far in his collegiate football career.

"I'm just the one kicking the ball," Butler said.

Web posted on Thursday, December 24, 2009

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