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Jeffrey D. Allred,
Utah Utes punter Mitch Wishnowsky (33) punts against the Washington Huskies in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016. Washington won 31-24.
It’s a great honor for Mitch, well-deserved. The statistics that he put up this year were incredible and like I’ve said, there’s no doubt in my mind that he deserved it. —Utah coach Kyle Whittingham

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s Mitch Wishnowsky won the Ray Guy Award as the nation’s top punter Thursday night at The Home Depot College Football Awards Show in Atlanta.

Wishnowsky said it was “like unbelievable” and “a great feeling” to receive the accolade.

“It’s a great honor for Mitch, well-deserved,” said Utah coach Kyle Whittingham, who accompanied Wishnowsky to the gathering at the College Football Hall of Fame. “The statistics that he put up this year were incredible and like I’ve said, there’s no doubt in my mind that he deserved it.”

Wishnowsky is second in the nation with 48 yards per punt. He’s first or tied for first in punts inside the 20-yard line (34), punts of 50 yards or greater (28) and punts inside the 10-yard line (17).

Utah is No. 1 in the country in net punting (44.9 yards).

The sophomore follows in the footsteps of former Ute and fellow Australian Tom Hackett, who won the Ray Guy Award in both 2014 and 2015.

“That’s a pretty good run,” Whittingham said. “Tommy Hackett did such as a great job for us then the torch was passed to Mitch and we just haven’t missed a beat. It’s been a great run of punters for the University of Utah.”

Same goes for punters from Australia. The other two Ray Guy Award finalists this year — Michael Dickson of Texas and Cameron Johnston of Ohio State — are also from Down Under.

After receiving the Ray Guy Award, Wishnowsky had kind things to say about both punters. Wishnowsky also had praise for Utah snapper Chase Dominguez, noting he needs a shout out.

“He’s snapped to Tom the last two years and me this year,” Wishnowsky said to ESPN host Chris Fowler. “There’s no snapper award, but I’m nominating Chase for one.”

Wishnowsky received several congratulatory messages from friends, including Hackett who asked that he have a beer for him.

“I’m going to enjoy this one,” Wishnowsky said when asked about a repeat or a three-peat. “If it happens, it happens. It was a blast being here and I wouldn’t say no to coming back. But, I don’t know, we’ll just see I guess.”

In addition to the Ray Guy Award, Wishnowsky was also named a first-team Walter Camp All-American at the annual ESPN event — something Hackett also did both times he won. Utah senior defensive end Hunter Dimick was named to the second team.

Email: dirk@deseretnews.com

Twitter: @DirkFacer