DuVernois Listed as Ray Guy Award Candidate

DuVernois improved his average by 3.6 yards per punt from 2011 to 2012.
DuVernois improved his average by 3.6 yards per punt from 2011 to 2012.

July 10, 2013

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Augusta, Ga. - Illinois junior punter Justin DuVernois has been named to the preseason watch list for the 2013 Ray Guy Award, which honors the nation's top collegiate punter, the Augusta Sports Council announced Wednesday.

DuVernois is coming off a solid sophomore campaign that saw him make huge improvements from the previous season. The Plantation, Fla., native ranked fourth in the Big Ten and 41st in the nation in punting in 2012 with a 41.9 yards per punt average, up 3.6 yards per punt from 2011. He boomed 15 punts at least 50 yards last season, including a career-long 72 boot in the season-opener against Western Michigan, the longest by an Illini since Steve Weatherford had a 79-yard bomb in 2004. DuVernois also added 16 fair catches and had 19 punts downed inside the 20-yard line in 2012.

Earlier this summer, DuVernois was named to the College Football Performance Awards punter watch list and was a second-team preseason All-Big Ten selection by Phil Steele.

The 25 preseason candidates on the Ray Guy Award watch list incorporate a broad spectrum of Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) punters. The number of eligible candidates for this season will grow when the award opens for nominations in September. The complete list of candidates will be released on October 25. In early November, the Ray Guy Award committee will meet to select the ten semi-finalists, who will be announced on November 8. 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 25.

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 12, 2013.

The Augusta Sports Council created the Ray Guy Award in 2000 to honor Thomson, Georgia, native and College Football Hall of Fame inductee, Ray Guy. 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.

2013 Illinois Preseason Honors (as of July 10)
Jonathan Brown, LB - Bednarik Award Watch List (Defensive POY), CFPA Linebacker Watch List, First Team All-Big Ten (Phil Steele)
Justin DuVernois, P - Ray Guy Award Watch List (punter), CFPA Punter Watch List, Second Team All-Big Ten (Phil Steele)
Mason Monheim, LB - Fourth Team All-Big Ten (Phil Steele)
Taylor Zalewski, PK - CFPA Specialist Watch List

Season tickets for the 2013 Illinois football season, which includes seven home games, are on sale now for as low as $99. The Fighting Illini also will host the Chicago Homecoming game at historic Soldier Field on Sept. 14 against Washington. Tickets for the Chicago Homecoming game start at $30 and are on sale now.