Oct. 26, 2012
DeKALB, Ill. - Northern Illinois punter Ryan Neir is one of 69 candidates for the 2012 Ray Guy Award, presented to the nation's top collegiate punter, the Augusta Sports Council announced Friday.
Neir, a senior from Roscoe, Ill., is averaging 38.3 yards per punt for the 7-1 Huskies, who take on Western Michigan Saturday at 11 a.m. (Central) in Kalamazoo, Mich. Neir has punted 32 times for 1,227 yards in 2012. He has put 14 punts inside the 20-yard line and opponents have called for a fair catch on 14 punts. NIU opponents have returned just seven of his punts for a total of 14 yards this season.
The Hononegah High School product is in his second season as the Huskies' starting punter. In 94 punts over the last two seasons, only one has gone into the end zone for a touchback. For his career, he is averaging 36.6 yards per punt with 50 fair catches, 33 dropped inside the 20. Opponents are averaging less than two yards per return on the limited number of punts that are returned.
Neir also serves as the Huskies' holder and successfully converted on a fake punt earlier this season by running for 17 yards. After earning his undergraduate degree in finance with a 3.93 grade point average, Neir is pursuing a master's degree in business from NIU.
He is one of five Mid-American Conference punters nominated for the Ray Guy Award. To see the complete list, click here.
The list of nominees will be trimmed to 10 semifinalists on November 9 and voters will narrow the list to three finalists on Nov. 19.
The Augusta Sports Council created the Ray Guy Award in 2000 to honor Thomson, Georgia native and College Football Hall of Fame inductee Ray Guy. The Award's winner is determined by a national voting body of sports writers, college coaches, sports information directors, and past winners. Among the statistics used to identify the winner is net punting average, number of times a punt is downed or kicked out of bounds inside the opponents 20-yard line, total yardage punted, average returned yardage, and percentage of punts not returned. The winner must display team leadership, self-discipline, and have a positive impact on the team's success.
Neir and his Northern Illinois teammates put their seven-game winning streak, and 12-game Mid-American Conference winning streak on the line Saturday at Western Michigan. The game kicks off at 11 a.m. (Central) and will be televised in 24 markets across the country, including on WPWR My50 in Chicago and WTVO ABC 17 in Rockford. Outside of those markets, the game can be viewed online on ESPN3.
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