University of Memphis senior punter Tom Hornsey, who ranks sixth nationally in punting and is a part of a unit which ranks second in NCAA FBS Football in team punting, has been named one of three finalists for the Ray Guy Award, which is presented to college football's top punter by the Augusta Sports Council.
Twenty-three players were selected as finalists on Monday for the nine National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA) awards given annually during The Home Depot College Football Awards. The awards show will air live from the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla., on ESPN, Thursday, Dec. 12 at 6 p.m. Central. The show will highlight the achievements of college football student-athletes in 2013.
ESPNU will feature the finalists of the nine awards during The Home Depot College Football Awards Nomination Special on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. Central.
The 30-minute show, hosted by Anish Shroff, will include player interviews and analysis from college football analyst Charles Arbuckle surrounding the finalists, which represent 17 teams. Texas A&M and Florida State lead schools in finalists having four and three players, respectively. Aaron Donald (Pittsburgh), Johnny Manziel (Texas A&M), AJ McCarron (Alabama) and Jameis Winston (Florida State) are each finalists for two awards.
Candidates for the Ray Guy Award were evaluated on their overall statistics and contribution to their team. Particular emphasis was placed on each punter's net average, percentage of total punts inside the 20-yard line and percentage of punts not returned.
Through 10 games, Hornsey is averaging 45.5 yards per punt, which ranks sixth nationally, and Memphis ranks second in the nation with a 41.81 net punting average. Memphis has had just 15 of 51 punts returned for a 7.3 yards per return average.
Hornsey has dropped 23 of 51 punts inside opponents' 20-yard line (.451). Over his four-year career, only 12 of his 281 punts have gone into the end zone for touchbacks including just four of 51 this season (.078).
Hornsey was the inaugural winner of the Ray Guy Award Player of the Week earlier this season and went on to be the weekly honor's second, two-time recipient.
The winner of the award must also display team leadership, self-discipline and have a positive impact on his team's success.
Hornsey has been a game captain throughout the 2013 season and is a member of head coach Justin Fuente's Leadership Council.
The other finalists for the 2013 Ray Guy Award are Texas A&M sophomore Drew Kaser and Purdue senior Cody Webster.
"I'm pretty honored to be put in the top three and I suppose it is a good reward for the hard work I have put in, but also for the people that have made this happen," Hornsey said. "All of my coaches and my coaches back in Australia that put the work in through technique as well as keeping me mentally focused. So it's an honor for me but also an award for them and all of their hard work."
Hornsey originally played Australian Rules Football in his hometown of Geelong in the province of Victoria. He has been Memphis' punter since his freshman season in 2010.
His 43.1 career punting average ranks eighth among active NCAA FBS punters.
"I would have never imagined it six years ago when I didn't know college football even existed," Hornsey said. "So it's been kind of an amazing journey so far and one that I hope to continue."
Hornsey is the first University of Memphis football student-athlete to be named a finalist for a National College Football Awards Association award since DeAngelo Williams was named a finalist for the 2005 Doak Walker Award.
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 award is determined by a national voting body of sports writers, college coaches, sports information directors and past Ray Guy Award winners. While the Ray Guy Award will be announced on Dec. 12th, it will be presented at the All-Area Football Awards and Ray Guy Award Celebration in Augusta, Ga., on Jan. 16.
Memphis will honor Hornsey and 14 other seniors on Saturday when the squad plays host to Temple. Kickoff is set for 11 a.m. at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium and the game will be televised by ESPNews.