Top Returning Pac-12 Punters For 2017

For the third year in a row, the reigning Ray Guy Award winner for the nation’s best punter comes from the Pac-12 and one campus in particular.

Tom Hackett in 2014 and 2015. Mitch Wishnowsky in 2016. In each of the last three years, college football’s top punter, at least according to the Ray Guy Award folks, has been a Utah Ute, by way of Australia. And since Wishnowsky played as a sophomore last year, the Utes will be favored to run their unique punting streak to four in 2017. In the unlikely event that someone other than Wishnowsky is named First Team All-Pac-12 this fall, Stanford junior Jake Bailey would probably be that surprise gatecrasher.

3. Nick Porebski, Oregon State

Porebski played just about everything growing up in Melbourne, Australia … except American football. But he got acclimated at Snow College in Utah in 2013, and then he got an offer to play for the Beavers. Porebski has been a regular in Corvallis the past two seasons, punting both conventionally and rugby style. He averaged 41.3 yards in 2016, while playing the key role in a special teams unit that ranked No. 12 nationally in punt return yardage defense.

2. Jake Bailey, Stanford

Bailey was one of the nation’s top punters coming out of Santa Fe Christian (Calif.) High School two years ago. He’s begun to perform like it. The 6-foot-2, 186-pounder earned honorable mention All-Pac-12 in 2016 for averaging 43.5 yards an attempt, fourth highest in Cardinal history. However, the powerful Bailey was also extremely valuable as a kickoff specialist. A healthy 62% of his attempts were touchbacks, preventing kick returners from ever getting out of the end zone.

1. Mitch Wishnowsky, Utah

Wishnowsky wound up being the perfect bridge to decorated former Ute Tom Hackett, keeping the Ray Guy Award on campus for a remarkable third consecutive season. Wishnowsky stood second nationally with an average of 47.7 yards, but he was much more than just a boomer. He also advertised remarkable precision when pinning opponents deep within their own territory, leading the FBS in drops inside the 10-yard line and failing to produce a single touchback over the last dozen games of 2016.