ORLANDO, Fla. --- University of Georgia All-American Drew Butler has been named the winner of the 2009 Ray Guy Award, which is presented annually to college football’s top punter by the Greater Augusta Sports Council.
Butler, a 6-2, 203-pound sophomore native of Duluth, Ga., received the award here Thursday during The Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards Show televised live on ESPN.
"I didn't play a whole lot last year and knew that I had to come in and compete since I was following a great punter in Brian Mimbs," said Butler. "We had a good punt team last year and I wanted to make sure we took a leap forward this year rather than a step backwards. The credit for this award goes to the team, all of the guys on the punt team. We call ourselves the 'Pride' team."
Butler, who was also named to the 2009 Walter Camp All-America First Team on Thursday, said much of his success comes from coaching and his hard work.
"I want to thank Coach (John) Lilly and all of the coaches," Butler said. "I tried to be consistent this whole season and it has paid off."
Butler is leading the nation in punting with a 48.8 average on 50 punts. Butler and the Bulldogs also lead the NCAA in Net Punting at 42.8. Along with Butler, the other finalists were Michigan senior Zoltan Mesko and Florida junior Chas Henry. A national committee of sportswriters, sportscasters, football coaches, professional football punters and previous winners annually select the winner. The award is named after the legendary NFL punter Ray Guy.
Butler is on pace to become only the third Bulldog in school history to lead the NCAA in punting (Zeke Bratkowski, 42.6 in 1953; Bobby Walden, 45.3 in 1958). He is also on target to break the school’s single season punting average record. The current mark is 45.4 by Chip Andrews in 1984 while the SEC mark is within reach at 48.2 (Ricky Anderson, Vanderbilt in 1984). This season, Butler has boomed 24 punts of 50+ yards and placed 17 inside the 20-yard line.
This is the 10th year for the award, and Butler is the first winner from the Southeastern Conference. Also, he will be honored at the All Area Football Banquet presented by the Augusta Sports Council and the Augusta Chronicle on Jan. 14.
Georgia will be back in action on Dec. 28 when it faces Texas A&M in the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La.