NCAA Football: Western Kentucky 30-14 over Charlotte

Western Kentucky’s John Haggerty punts Oct. 19 during the Hilltoppers’ 30-14 win over Charlotte at Houchens-Smith Stadium.

Western Kentucky senior John Haggerty was named to the 2020 Ray Guy Award Watch List, the Augusta Sports Council announced Wednesday.

Created in 2000, the honor is in the namesake of College Football and Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee punter Ray Guy.

Haggerty is the lone Conference USA punter mentioned out of the 19 initial watch list honorees. The Sydney, Australia, native has been named First Team All-CUSA by both Athlon Sports and Phil Steele.

Among the statistics used to identify the winner is net punting average, number of times punt is downed or kicked out of bounds inside the opponent’s 20-yard line, total yardage punted, average returned yardage and percentage of punts not returned, with particular emphasis placed on net punting average. The winner must also display team leadership, self-discipline and have a positive impact on the team’s success.

Haggerty made an immediate impact at WKU in his first season playing American football. He set the all-time WKU program record with 45.9 yards per punt, which ranked 13th in FBS, while his 42.1-yard net average was 10th. He had 17 kicks of 50-plus yards after WKU had 18 such kicks from 2016-2018 combined and also had 50-plus yard punts on 38% of his 46 punts, which ranked ninth in FBS. He had 18 punts inside the 20-yard line compared to only two touchbacks, and nine fair catches by opponents compared to only 19 returns for 130 yards.

Haggerty became the first Hilltopper punter to be voted First Team All-Conference since Brian Claybourn in 2003 and 2004. He also served as the team’s holder for freshman kicker Cory Munson.

WKU is scheduled to host UT Chattanooga on Sept. 3 to open the season.

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