Ryan Allen couldn’t make it to Augusta to be honored Thursday night. So he did the next best thing.
Via videotape, the Louisiana Tech student thanked the Augusta Sports Council for the Ray Guy Award, which goes to the nation’s top collegiate punter, during the All-Area Football Banquet. Allen won the award in December at The Home Depot College Football Awards Show in Orlando, Fla.
“We can’t thank you guys enough,” said Allen, who cited weight training and his class schedule for his failure to appear. “It’s done so much for our institution.”
Allen beat out Auburn’s Stephen Clark and Oregon’s Jackson Rice for the honor. The process for the Ray Guy Award began with 55 nominees. That list was whittled down to 10 semifinals. In November, the sports council announced the finalists.
Allen became the first Louisiana Tech punter and first Western Athletic Conference punter to win the award. Allen became the 12th winner of the award, which began in 2000.
Allen led the nation with punts inside the 20 with 37 and punts inside the 10 (20) during the regular season. He was the nation’s third-leading punter in gross average at 46.3 yards per kick.
Also, the Bulldogs rank eighth in the nation in net punting (40.15).
Allen, of Salem, Ore., boomed 29 punts longer than 50 yards, with a long of 72. Of his 78 punts, 28 were not returned and none were blocked.
Allen shared a message with high schoolers in attendance at the banquet. After not seeing any playing time after two years at Oregon State, he transferred to Louisiana Tech.
It took just one season for him to shine.
“Sometimes, things are hard,” he said. “Hard work and perseverance pay off.”