Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Utah State University football

Utah State football senior punter Tyler Bennett was named a candidate for the 2012 Ray Guy Award, which identifies the nation's top collegiate punter. The Augusta Sports Council made the announcement Wednesday.

Bennett, a native of Phoenix, Ariz. (North Canyon HS/Phoenix CC), is joined on the 25 player list by three other punters from the Western Athletic Conference including Bobby Cowan of Idaho, Ryan Allen of Louisiana Tech and Harrison Waid from San Jose State. Bennett is also one of three punters from the Beehive State to be recognized. The other two are Riley Stephenson of BYU and Sean Sellwood from Utah.

This is the second watch list Bennett has been placed on heading into his senior season, as he was also named to the 2012 College Football Performance Awards Special Team Watch List.

In 2011, Bennett emerged as USU's top punter in his first year in the program. He booted 58 punts for a total of 2,542 yards, while finishing the 2011 season ranked 16th in the nation with 43.8 yards per punt average. Bennett also had 15 punts of 50-plus yards and a long of 67 yards, as well as 21 punts inside the 20-yard line. He was also named to Phil Steele's College Football Preview Preseason All-WAC third-team for 2012, along with being placed on the Phil Steele's College Football Preview Postseason All-WAC third-team in 2011. Additionally, Bennett garnered second-team honors from College Sports Madness and was a Ray Guy Award Watch List honoree in 2011.

In 2011, Utah State’s net punting average improved 49 spots in the NCAA FBS rankings from 2010, ranking No. 29 in 2011 with a 38.20 net average after ranking No. 78 in 2010 with a net average of 35.49.

The complete list of candidates will be released on October 26. Then in early November, the Ray Guy Award committee will meet to select the 10 semi-finalists, who will be announced on November 9. A national body of Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) sports information directors, coaches, media representatives and previous Ray Guy Award winners will then vote for the top three finalists, to be announced on November 19. After the finalists are named, the voting body will cast ballots again to select the nation’s top punter. The winner will be announced live during The Home Depot College Football Awards airing on ESPN on Thursday, December 6.

Utah State football season ticket renewals and new sales for the 2012 season are available. Renewals are available online 24 hours a day at www.UtahStateAggies.com and clicking on the "buy/renew tickets" under the "tickets" drop down menu. Fans interested in new sales should contact the USU Ticket Office at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum or by phone by calling 1-888-USTATE-1 or (435) 797-0305.

Fans can follow the Aggie football program at twitter.com/USUFootball or on the USU football blog at usufootball.wordpress.com. Aggie fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program at twitter.com/USUAthletics or on facebook at Utah State University Athletics.

Ray Guy Award

The Augusta Sports Council created the Ray Guy Award in 2000 to honor the Thomson, Georgia native and College Football Hall of Fame inductee, Ray Guy. The Ray Guy Award winner is determined by a national voting body of sports writers, college coaches, sports information directors and past Ray Guy Award 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.

Augusta Sports Council

The Augusta Sports Council (ASC) is a non-profit organization dedicated to marketing the Augusta area as a destination for amateur sporting events. The ASC attracts, creates and supports dozens of sporting events and activities each year, generating a positive economic impact and enhancing the quality of life for residents of the greater Augusta community. To learn more, visit AugustaSportsCouncil.org.

National College Football Awards Association

The Ray Guy Award is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA). The NCFAA was founded in 1997 as a coalition of the major collegiate football awards to protect, preserve and enhance the integrity, influence and prestige of the game’s predominant awards. The NCFAA encourages professionalism and the highest standards for the administration of its member awards and the selection of their candidates and recipients. For more information, visit the association’s official website, www.ncfaa.org.

Doug Hoffman is the assistant athletic director for Utah State University Athletic Media Relations.