Vols’ punter a candidate for Ray Guy Award

Published 5:44 pm Thursday, August 4, 2022

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...


The Augusta Sports Council announced Wednesday that Tennessee senior punter Paxton Brooks is one of 49 candidates named to the preseason watch list for the Ray Guy Award, which annually honors the nation’s top collegiate punter in the FBS.

Entering his fifth and final season with the Vols and fourth-straight year as UT’s starting punter, Brooks has played in 48 career games and averages 43.3 yards per punt—ranking third all-time in Tennessee history. Thirty of his punts have gone 50-plus yards, while 47 of his punts have been pinned inside the 20-yard line.

Email newsletter signup

Last fall, Brooks ranked eighth in the SEC in punting average (44.0) and logged 11 punts over 50 yards, including a career-long 64-yard boot in the season opener against Bowling Green. His 44.0 yards-per-punt average was a single-season career best and ranks 10th in the UT record book.

The Lexington, South Carolina, native has produced a distinguished career on and off the field during his time in Knoxville and will wear the SEC graduate patch this season after completing his undergraduate degree in kinesiology in May 2021 while maintaining a 3.92 cumulative GPA. He is a three-time member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll and was recognized as a First Team Academic All-American at the conclusion of the 2021 season.

The 49 Ray Guy Award candidates on the list incorporate a broad spectrum of FBS punters. The 2022 watch list was compiled based on the 2021 Ray Guy Award Semifinalist List, the top ten NCAA Punters from 2021, the 2021 All-Conference teams, the 2021 All-American Teams, the 2022 pre-season All-Conference Teams and eligible punters on the 2021 watch list.

The number of eligible candidates for this season will grow when the award opens nominations on July 28. The complete list of candidates will be released on November 2nd. In mid-November, the Ray Guy Award committee will meet to select the ten semifinalists, who will be announced on November 8th.

A national body of Football Bowl Subdivision sports information directors, media representatives and previous Ray Guy Award winners will then vote for the top three finalists to be announced on November 18th. After the finalists are named, the voting body will cast ballots again to select the nation’s top punter. The winner will be announced live during The Home Depot College Football Awards airing on ESPN in December 2022.

Since the Ray Guy Award’s inception in 2000, Tennessee has had three punters recognized as finalists or semifinalists for the nation’s top punting honors. David Leaverton was tabbed a semifinalist in 2000 before Dustin Colquitt was honored three-straight years—twice as a finalist in 2002-03 and once as a semifinalist in 2004. Michael Palardy was UT’s most recent Ray Guy Award semifinalist in 2013.