Offensive and defensive players for the Ole Miss Rebels have been receiving preseason honors all week long, but on Thursday the recognition took a different route when sophomore punter Will Gleeson was one of 25 candidates named to the Ray Guy Preseason Award Watch List, announced by the Augusta Sports Council. The award honors the nation’s best collegiate punter.
Gleeson is in good company, as Tom Hackett (Utah), winner of the 2014 Ray Guy Award, makes his return to the list along with finalists Austin Rehkow (Idaho), and JK Scott (Alabama). Returning semifinalists include Cameron Johnston (Ohio State), Drew Kaser (Texas A&M), Alex Kinal (Wake Forest), and Justin Vogel (Miami).
Gleeson, one of five Southeastern Conference punters on the list, excelled as a freshman for the Rebels last season as he averaged 42.9 yards per punt, ranking him 28th in the country.
The 6-foot-3, 189-pound Gleeson played in 11 games in 2014 and punted 58 times for 2,491 yards. He landed 41.4 percent of his punts inside the 20-yard line and boomed punts of 50 yards or more on 12 separate occasions.
The Melbourne, Australia, native was named National Punter of the Week by the Ray Guy Award following the Boise State and Tennessee games.
The number of eligible candidates will increase as the regular season progresses, and the final list of candidates will be released on Oct. 30. The committee of the Ray Guy Award will meet to select the ten semifinalists, who will be revealed on Nov. 13.
The winner will be announced at The Home Depot College Football Awards, which will air on ESPN on Thursday, December 10, 2015.