Augusta, Ga.----- San Jose State University sophomore Michael Carrizosa is one of three finalists for the 2015 Ray Guy Award honoring the top punter in collegiate football. The announcement was made by the Augusta Sports Council and announced on the ESPNU Home Depot College Football Awards Nomination Special.
Carrizosa is in his tenth week as the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) national leader with his 47.9 average. He was the national leader for eight weeks through games played on October 31 and regained the top spot following games played on November 14.
The sophomore from Salinas, Calif., is one of the most improved players in the country at his position. As a freshman in 2014, Carrizosa's average was just 37.1 yards per punt, 10.8 yards per punt less than his current average.
"I didn't do this on my own. There are a lot of people who helped me and pushed me every step of the way," said the Spartans' second-year punter from Palma High in Salinas.
His improvement as a punter parallels San Jose State's improved team ranking in net punting which measures punting yardage minus opponent punt return yardage and touchbacks. After leading all FBS teams for four weeks, the Spartans currently rank third nationally at 41.78 yards a punt. In 2014, San Jose State was last among 125 FBS schools with a 30.7 average.
"Michael put in a lot of hard work during the off season and to see his numbers improve and him recognized as a finalist for such a prestigious award is very exciting," said San Jose State head coach Ron Caragher.
"His improvement is significant. We had a tough finish last year in net punting. It goes to show when you roll up your sleeves and get to work that you can turn things around."
Utah's Tom Hackett and Colorado State's Hayden Hunt are the other two finalists. Hackett, the 2014 Ray Guy Award winner, is fourth individually at 47.4 yards a punt and Utah is the current national leader in net punting at 43.44. Hunt is fifth at 46.3 and Colorado State is second in net punting at 43.41.
Carrizosa, a justice studies major and the son of two career police officers, will take part in the Home Depot College Football Awards Show on December 10 at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, Ga., where the winner will be introduced on ESPN.
The Ray Guy Award is named after the Pro Football Hall of Fame punter who starred for the Oakland Raiders from 1973 through 1986. He is the first punter to be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.