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2017 Best Football Players in the MAC: #9 Joe Davidson, P, Bowling Green

Punting is an afterthought for most football fans, but Davidson could very well be one of BGSU’s best defensive weapons.

Jason Knavel | BGSU Athletics

You might be looking at this article aqnd saying “what the [redacted swear word] is a punter doing in the top 10 best MAC players?”

Certainly, you may feel justified. It’s not often specialists make any form of list, especially a kicker or punter. But they’re a intregal part of the game whether you realize it or not and Davidson was perhaps BGSU’s best player in 2016.

Davidson was a Ray Guy Award semifinalist for the country’s best punter in 2016 after a season that saw him kick only three total touchbacks in 12 games despite a high usage rate. Davidson was named to the first-team All-MAC squad as a punter and earned Special Teams Player of the Week twice during the season.

Davidson, a Lindley, Ohio native who stands at six-foot-seven, 234 lbs., was one of the Falcons’ best defensive weapons due to his powerful kicking style. Davidson averaged 45.8 yards per punt last season, good enough for second-best in the country, including an 82-yard punt against Toledo.

Davidson has finished first in the MAC in punting average the last two seasons, kicking for a net average of 45+ yards per kick eight out of 12 games in 2016. Davidson had multiple great performances, including a game against Ohio where he averaged 59.8 yards per punt on just three punts. Davidson had four games of seven punts or more, including a nine-punt performance against Akron in a game that ultimately broke BGSU’s seven-game losing streak. Those are monster numbers for a player at his position.

Davidson finished 2016 with 61 punts for 2,791 yards, averaging 45.8 yards, just barely down from his career-best 46.0 yards in 2015. Davidson will once again be considered for the Ray Guy Award in 2017 and as a semifinalist in 2016, he should be considered an early favorite to win the trophy.

Davidson’s usage rate might go down in 2017 as the offense gets a second year to adjust under head coach Mike Jinks, but his impact on the game will be unquestioned for the Falcons and could help the Falcons win some close games in the near future.