The Australian punter leads the nation in punting, one of three players up for the award
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky junior punter Max Duffy has been named one of three finalists for the Ray Guy Award, presented annually to the nation’s top punter, the Augusta Sports Council announced Monday.
Duffy, of Perth, Australia, continues to be an absolute weapon for the Wildcats, dominating the field position game with his booming and accurate leg. He is UK’s career punt leader with a 46.54-yard average and with his distance and placement, Kentucky leads the nation in net punting with a 45.24-yard net average. Duffy currently leads the nation in punting at 48.9 yards per punt.
Only nine of Duffy’s 45 punts have been returned (20 percent) and 23 of them have landed inside the 20-yard line (51 percent). He doesn’t shy away from contact either. He has three career tackles, including an open-field tackle – possibly saving a touchdown – on UT Martin’s Terry Williams, who already has two punt return TDs on the season.
The winner will be announced on Tuesday, December 12 at the 2019 Home Depot College Football Awards Show in Atlanta, Ga. The Ray Guy Award will provide one additional vote as determined by football fans for the Ray Guy Award winner. The Fan Vote is located on the Ray Guy Award website and is equivalent to one national selection committee member’s vote. The vote was included for the selection of the finalists as well.
Duffy has twice been named the Ray Guy Award Player of the Week and earned Southeastern Conference Special Teams Player of the Week on Oct. 28 after a magnificent night of punting vs. Missouri. He has also been on the Ray’s 8 weekly honor roll three times. In addition, Duffy was a First-Team Midseason All-America choice by ESPN and The Sporting News and a Second-Team Midseason All-America selection by the Associated Press.
Against South Carolina, Duffy set two school records, breaking his own single-game school record (min. 8 punts), averaging 51.1 yards on nine kicks and in the process, became UK’s career punting leader.
On a rainy, Saturday night against Missouri, Duffy punted five times for 262 yards (52.4 average), had a career-best 70-yard punt and pinned Mizzou inside its own 20-yard line three times. Duffy’s 70-yard punt was the longest by a UK player in an SEC game since Ryan Tydlacka vs. Ole Miss in 2010 (73 yards). Duffy also scampered 26 yards for a first down on a fake punt. It kept the drive alive that set up Kentucky’s final touchdown.
He also made a huge impact in UK’s wins over Toledo and Eastern Michigan. In the Toledo game, he punted six times for a 54-yard average, the second-highest single-game average in school history (min. 5 punts). Against EMU, he only punted three times but his three punts forced Eastern Michigan to start on its own 8, 11 and 13-yard lines. EMU did not score following any of his punts, helping set up UK touchdowns on both of its subsequent possessions (a third EMU possession ended the half).
Kentucky is 6-5 overall, 3-5 in the SEC. The Wildcats’ close the regular season against Louisville on Nov. 30 at Kroger Field. The game will air at noon ET on the SEC Network. For tickets, visit UKfootballtix.com.