Junior Rhys Byrns was recognized as one of the top punters in the nation ahead of the 2020 season after earning a spot on the Ray Guy Award Preseason Watch List, the Augusta Sports Council announced on Wednesday.
Byrns is one of just 19 punters from around the country to land on the list, which was compiled from the 2019 Ray Guy Award Semifinalist List, the top ten NCAA Punters from 2019, the 2019 All-Conference teams, the 2019 All-American Teams and the 2020 pre-season All-Conference Teams.
Punting in 12 of the team's 14 contests in 2019, Byrns boasted the highest punt average in the conference (44.2) and was one of four punters in the league to produce a boot of 70 or more yards. His average broke the single season school record in that category, topping the previous record of 42.9 set by Daniel Cadona in 2014.
Of his 45 attempts, Byrns placed 16 balls inside the 20-yard line, accounting for 35.6 percent of his total punts, while he sent eight balls longer than 50 yards.
His best performance of the season came on Oct. 9, 2019, against Appalachian State, when he punted six times, four of which went longer than 50 yards, a new career high. He also pinned a career-high four punts inside the 20-yard line against the Mountaineers, three of which settled inside the 5-yard line. Following his performance, he was named the Sun Belt Special Teams Player of the Week.
Byrns closed out his sophomore campaign with Second Team All-Sun Belt Conference honors and First Team All-Louisiana honors.
The Augusta Sports Council created the Ray Guy Award in 2000 to honor Thomson, Georgia native and College and Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee, Ray Guy. Among the statistics used to identify the winner is net punting average, number of times punt is downed or kicked out of bounds inside the opponents 20-yard line, total yardage punted, average returned yardage and percentage of punts not returned with particular emphasis placed on net punting average. The winner must display team leadership, self-discipline and have a positive impact on the team's success.
Louisiana Football opens the 2020 campaign on Saturday, September 5, when it welcomes in-state foe McNeese State to Cajun Field.
Should disruptions or modifications to the 2020 season occur due to the coronavirus, the Department of Athletics will quickly communicate plans to fans and season ticket holders regarding accommodations for pre-purchased tickets.
More information can be obtained by calling the Louisiana Athletics Ticket Office at the Cajundome, (337) 265-2170. For information on parking passes, contact RCAF by phone at (337) 851-2903.
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