Daniel Sepulveda never was good enough to punt for his high school football team. At the time, he was undersized and didn't have the powerful leg.
After a late growth spurt, he decided to walk on at Baylor - as a linebacker. He followed in his brother's footsteps, trying out the defensive position. Then he saw an opening at the punter position.
"The rest is history," he said.
Sepulveda became the fifth winner of the Ray Guy Award, given to the College Punter of the Year. He was recognized Monday evening at the Greater Augusta Sports Awards Gala at Radisson Riverfront Hotel Augusta.
"Going into the beginning of the year, being the Ray Guy Award winner was the last thing on my mind," he said. "As the year went on, things were going really well.
"By the end, it started to enter my mind as I made the semifinalist list and the finalist list. At that point, I realized I was going to get to go to Orlando (for the ESPN College Football awards show). Whether I won or not, I was happy with that."
The 6-foot-3, 222-pound Sepulveda, a second-team All-American, ranked third nationally with a 46.0-yard punting average and second with a 42.5 net average.
He placed 42 percent of his punts inside the 20, and he boomed 24 punts 50 or more yards.
"Being a walk-on at Baylor says a lot," Guy said. "He's a tremendous all-around athlete. He kind of reminds me of me. He's the type of athlete who can do anything. He just has that much talent."
Sepulveda won the award in Decem-ber.
"To have my name associated with Ray Guy ... there's no argument he's the best punter ever ," Sepulveda said. "That's quite an honor."
The Greater Augusta Sports Council also recognized Greater Augusta Medals for Excellence in Sports winners in eight categories. Lantz Lamback, who won a pair of bronze medals in the 2004 Paralympic Games, won a second consecutive gold medal as the G.A.M.E.S. Paralympic Star.
Lamback, who is competing in next month's Paralympic Nationals in Portland, Ore., showed off one of his bronze medals before the gala. Lamback finished third in the 50- and 100-meter freestyle in the Paralympics in Athens, Greece.
"I just wanted to medal," said Lamback, who will join the Darton Junior College swim team in the fall. "And two? Wow. Where did all that come from?"
Other G.A.M.E.S. gold-medal winners include: Anne Wills, All-Around Female Athlete; Myles Potter, All-Around Male Athlete; Kristan Glover, Outstanding Female Athlete; Jonathan Egan, Outstanding Male Athlete; Bob Miller, Amateur Star; Kathryn Peacock, Rising Star; and Garrett Black, Outstanding Coach.
Reach Chris Gay at (706) 823-3645 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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