Last season Miami's Zac Murphy nearly shattered every major college football punting record thanks to his powerful leg, and his team's offensive woes. Sadly, Murphy didn't take home the nation's top honor for punters, the Ray Guy Award. Murphy is gone now, but fear not Mid-American Conference fans, two current MAC punters are at least in contention for the award this year.
The Augusta Sports Council named the 25 college football punters to the 2014 Ray Guy Award Watch List, and Akron's Zach Paul and Kent State's Anthony Melchiori made the list.
Paul, a a junior, earned Third Team All-MAC honors in 2013 thanks to his powerful leg. The Zip netted a 42.9 yards per punt average, booting 15 of them for 50-plus yards.
Melchiori, who actually pulls double-duty for the Golden Flashes as a placekicker and punter, is a junior who earned Second Team All-MAC honors in 2013. Melchiori was recently named the No. 48 player in our countdown of the Top 50 MAC football players of 2014, and averaged 44.5 yards per punt, including 14 that landed inside the opponents 20-yard line. !1 of his punts went 50-plus yards.
Along with the 23 other honorees, Melchiori and Paul still have to make it through the season for a chance at becoming the first MAC player to win the award, now in its 15th season. Named after NFL and College Football Hall of Fame punter Ray Guy, the award is given annually (since 2000) to the top punter in the nation as determined by a voting panel that takes in factors such as net punting average, number of punts downed or kicked out of bounds inside an opponent's 20, and the percentage of punts that weren't returned.