Wednesday, November 30, 2011
FSU's Shawn Powell deserves recognition
By ESPN.com staff
The Ray Guy award is supposed to be given to the nation's top punter.
There's only one problem with the award this year.
The nation's top punter is nowhere to be found on the list of finalists. Or semifinalists.
Big mistake. Huge.
Florida State punter Shawn Powell should be on everyone's All-America lists this year. He is the No. 1 overall punter in the FBS and leads the FBS in net punting. And yet Powell was passed over in favor of Louisiana Tech's Ryan Allen, Auburn's Steven Clark, and Oregon's Jackson Rice.
Clark is No. 57 in the country in punting. Jackson Rice was second-team all-Pac-12.
"While Shawn Powell has shown excellent prowess late in the season, at the time of our selection his cumulative performance across each of the four major categories did not warrant his inclusion on our list of award semi-finalists," Augusta Sports Council CEO Brinsley Thigpen stated via email.
For the award officials, timing is everything. The Ray Guy Award semi-finalists were chosen on Nov. 9, based on statistics through Nov. 5. According to Carly Kobasiar, marketing manager for the award, four major criteria were considered by the committee: percentage of punts not returned, average return yardage, the net punting average and number of punts downed or kicked out of bounds inside the opponent's 20 yard line.
"Of the 55 Ray Guy Award candidates, Shawn Powell ranked as follows in each of the four major categories: 30th in percentage of punts not returned, 31st in average return yardage, 16th in net punting average and 10th in punts down or kicked out of bounds inside the 20," Kobasiar explained in an email. "Statistics were provided by each team's Sports Information Department.
"While the NCAA rankings are based on just one statistic (Gross Average) and that is the stat most readily available to the average fan, it is just one piece of the punting puzzle and not a statistic that we consider most valuable."
Dear Greater Augusta Sports Council, kindly consider the value of the following:
- Powell had seven punts of at least 60 yards this year.
- Forty-three percent of his punts were downed inside the 20-yard line.
- Twelve of those were downed inside the 10-yard line.
- A whopping 63 percent of his punts are not returned.
- He became the first ACC punter to lead the nation in both overall and net punting since Ryan Plackemeier of Wake Forest in 2005. Funny thing is, Plackemeier won the Ray Guy award that year.
- He had a league-leading 21 punts of 50 or more yards.
- He set a school record with a career average of 44 yards.
- One more, just in case you were still unsure ... Powell held three of the nation's top punt returners - NC State's T.J. Graham, Oklahoma's Ryan Broyles, and Maryland's Tony Logan - to a combined five returns for 21 yards.
Officials of the Ray Guy award also consider the punter's "impact on the team." Florida State is No. 6 in the country in total defense, No. 4 in scoring defense, and No. 1 in net punting. I'd say Powell has had the most impact of any of the finalists. FSU coach Jimbo Fisher would tell you Powell is probably his team's MVP.
This is the Ray Guy Award's loss, not Powell's, and anyone voting for an All-American team this year should use their vote to prove it.