As one of three finalists for the Ray Guy Award, which goes to the nation's top collegiate punter, Ball State's football student-athlete Scott Kovanda spent three days in Orlando, Fla., at The Home Depot ESPN College Football Awards Show.
Kovanda attended a dinner for all the student-athletes, had breakfast Ray Guy and the award committee Thursday, appeared live on ESPN's College Football Live and attended The Home Depot College Football Awards Show.
The other two finalists for the award were Ryan Allan of Louisiana Tech and Kyle Christy of Florida, and Allan won the trophy for a second straight season.
The Home Depot College Football Awards Show was televised live on ESPN at 7:30 p.m. ESPNU televised the Red Carpet Show live from Atlantic Dance Hall at the Disney Boardwalk Resort.
The Ray Guy Award - named for football's premier punter - honors the nation's best collegiate punter. The Augusta Sports Council created the award in 2000. Along with awards such as the Heisman Trophy and the Doak Walker Award, the Ray Guy Award honors one of the most important members of any football team. The ASC presents the award live each year on The Home Depot College Football Awards Show.
Kovanda, who serves as a team captain for the Cardinals, has punted 38 times this season and pinned opponents inside the 20-yard line 23 times. He has helped Ball State to rank fourth in the country in punt return defense with the Cardinals allowing only 1.5 yards per return and having only four punts returned this season. He has punted for 1,540 yards and a 40.5 average this season, including six punts of 50 or more yards.
One of 10 semifinalists for the Ray Guy Award in 2011, Kovanda has 220 career punts for 9,029 yards and a 41.0 career average. He ranks fourth all-time at Ball State in career punt yardage, fourth in career punts and third in career punt average.
The Ray Guy Award winner is selected by a national voting body of Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) coaches, sports information directors, national media and former Ray Guy Award winners. Punters are evaluated on their overall statistics and contribution to the team. Particular emphasis is place on the following statistics: net average, percentage of total punts inside the 20-yard line and percentage of punts not returned.
Kovanda is the latest in a long line of punters from Ball State.
Brad Maynard (1993-96) set the Ball State career record with a 44.2 average and was a consensus All-American as a senior. Maynard was also named the Mid-American Conference Player of the Year and the MAC's Defensive Player of the Year as a senior. He competed 15 years in the National Football League.
Reggie Hodges, the punter for the Cleveland Browns, is in his seventh year in the NFL. Chris Miller completed his Ball State career in 2008 ranked second in Ball State record books with 10,342 punt yards and broke Maynard's career average with a 44.77 mark.
Kovanda marks the second player in the history of the ESPN Home Depot Awards Show to be invited as a finalist for an award. Dante Ridgeway was one of three finalists for the Fred Biletnikoff Award as the nation's most outstanding wide receiver in 2004.