August 27, 2002
SENIOR PUNTER JIMMY ERWIN MAKES PRESEASON RAY GUY AWARD WATCH LIST
DeKALB, IL --- Its preseason watch list No. 4 for 2002
Northern Illinois University football.
Senior punter Jimmy
Erwin (Mastic Beach, NY / Floyd) became the latest Huskie to be selected
as a candidate for a national major-college honor Tuesday (August 27)
when the Greater Augusta (GA) Sports Council announced the 34 nominees
for the Ray Guy College Punter of the Year Award.
well-deserved, said Northern Illinois head coach Joe Novak
after hearing the news. Jimmy made a tremendous improvement last
season with his punting average and hang time. Top 30 or so punters in
the country? I would certainly think so. And we expect to see continued
improvement in those areas I mentioned.
The most improved
punter in the Mid-American Conference last fall, Erwin upped his punting
average from 38.1 yards per kick in 2000 to a school single-season record
41.8 in 2001. In the process, the six-foot, 228-pounder moved from the
No. 10 spot in MAC punting two years ago to No. 3 in the league last year.
A preseason Second-Team
All-MAC pick in Lindys 2002 Football, Erwin ranks
as the nations No. 24 returning major-college punter prior to the
Huskies season-opener Thursday (August 29) against Wake Forest University
in DeKalb. During 2001, he punted 44 times for 2,507 yards---including
a career-long 65-yarder vs. No. 25-rated Toledo.
Erwin placed 15 punts
inside the opposition 20-yard line, hit five into the end one for touchbacks,
booted two into fair catches, and averaged 40.0 ypp. or better in six
games last autumn. A two-year Northern Illinois letterman, he transferred
from Nassau (NY) Community College in January, 2000.
Five other Mid-Am
punters joined Erwin on the 34-man Ray Guy preseason watch list---including
Brian Brandt of Central Michigan, Pat Fleming of Bowling Green State,
Jared Fritz of Kent State, Curtis Head of Marshall, and Mike Wafzig of
The Guy Award will
be presented to the countrys best collegiate punter as determined
by a national selection committee comprised of sportswriters, coaches,
sports information directors, former punters, and committee members designated
by the Greater Augusta Sports Council. The committee will select 10 semifinalists
in late October and narrow the field to three finalists in November. The
recipient will be announced live on ESPN on December 12. The award is
named after the former All-America and All-Pro punter at Southern Mississippi
and the National Football League Oakland Raiders, respectively.
The three current
Northern Illinois standouts mentioned on 2002 preseason national watch
lists include (1) junior placekicker Steve Azar (Colorado
Springs, CO / Highlands Ranch) for the Lou Groza Collegiate Placekicker
Award, (2) senior tailback Thomas Hammock (Fort Wayne, IN / Bishop
Luers) for the Doak Walker National Runningback Award, and (3) senior
cornerback Vince Thompson (Chicago / St. Rita) for the Bronko Nagurski
Trophy (nations top defensive player).
(For further information,
please contact Mike Korcek)