BOULDER—Sophomore Darragh O’Neill was one of 25 players nationally on Wednesday to be named to the Ray Guy Award watch list by the Augusta Sports Council. O’Neill was one of four Pac-12 players and one of five sophomores to be named to the award list that will eventually honor the nation’s top collegiate punter at the end of the 2012 season.
The Boulder native played in all 13 games last season and had the second best punting average among freshmen in college football, averaging 42.6 yards on 74 punts. He had 21 punts land inside-the-20 and 17 punts that were booted over 50 yards. His longest punt, of 57 yards, came against Washington State on Oct. 1 – a game in which he averaged 49 yards in his three kicks.
On Oct. 22 versus Oregon, O’Neill had six punts land inside-the-20 and four punts inside-the-10, setting single-game school records in both categories. He also set school records during the season for most punting yards (3,152 yards) and highest net punting average by a freshman (38.8 yards).
The Augusta Sports Council created the Ray Guy Award in 2000 to honor Thomson, Ga., native and College Football Hall of Fame inductee Ray Guy. The Ray Guy Award winner is determined by a national voting body of sports writers, college coaches, sports information directors and past Ray Guy Award winners.
Colorado has had a player win the Ray Guy award once before, in 2002 with Mark Mariscal. Overall, seven CU players have won nine national football trophies with Alfred Williams (1990 Butkus), Deon Figures (1992 Thorpe), Chris Hudson (1994 Thorpe), Rashaan Salaam (1994 Heisman, Walter Camp, and Doak Walter), Matt Russell (1996 Butkus) and Dan Graham (2001 Mackey) joining Mariscal.
O’Neill joins Gus Handler and Ray Polk as current CU players added to an official watch list for a major postseason award. On May 8, Polk was added to the watch list for the Ronnie Lott Impact Trophy while Handler was named to the Rimington Trophy watch list on Tuesday.
The watch lists for the Bednarik Award and the Maxwell Award were announced July 9 and the Rimington Trophy and John Mackey watch lists were announced Tuesday. The Lou Groza watch list was also unveiled with the Ray Guy on Wednesday.
The Bronko Nagurski Trophy and Outland Trophy will be announced on Thursday followed by the Jim Thorpe Award watch list on Friday. The Rotary Lombardi and Butkus Awards will be unveiled on July 16, followed then by the Biletnikoff Award (July 17), Davey O’Brien (July 18), Doak Walker Award (July 19) and Walter Camp (July 20). The Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award announces its initial list usually in late September.