Butler, a 6-2, 203-pound redshirt sophomore from Duluth, Ga., was named one of three finalists for the 2009 Ray Guy Award while Walsh, a 5-10, 185-pound sophomore from Boca Raton, FL, was named one of three finalists for the 2009 Lou Groza Award.
Butler joins Michigan senior Zoltan Mesko and Florida junior Chas Henry in competition to be named the nation’s top punter. UCLA junior Kai Forbath, Alabama senior Leigh Tiffin and Walsh are all vying for the distinction of the nation’s top place-kicker.
Butler is leading the nation with a 48.8 average on 50 punts. He is on pace to become only the third Bulldog in school history to lead the NCAA in punting (Zeke Bratkowski, 1953, 42.6; Bobby Walden, 1958, 45.3). Butler is also on target to break the school’s single season record of 45.4 (Chip Andrews, 1984) as well as the Southeastern Conference’s top mark for a minimum of 50 punts of 48.2 (Ricky Anderson, Vanderbilt, 1984).
Butler has boomed 24 punts of 50 or more yard this season and placed 17 punts within the 20-yard line. Butler and the Bulldogs also lead the NCAA in Net Punting by two yards with an average of 42.8.
The winner of the 10th Ray Guy Award will be announced live on ESPN during the Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards show on Thursday, December 10. The winner will again be honored at the All Area Football Banquet presented by the Augusta Sports Council and The Augusta Chronicle on January 14, 2010.
Walsh is on pace to top the school record in Field Goal Percentage for a single season. He has drilled 16-of-17 field goals (94.1 percent) in 2009, including 4-of-4 from 50 or more yards. Billy Bennett holds the school record after hitting 13-of-14 (92.86 percent) in 2000. The SEC record for a minimum of 20 attempts is 88.4 percent (Bobby Raymond, Florida, 1984). Walsh has also connected on all 84 of his PATs during his career and is 34-for-34 this year, making him the only finalist to connect on all his PATs in 2009.
In addition to hitting a 37-yard game-winning field goal versus Arizona State, Walsh made a career-long 53 yarder during the season opener with #9 Oklahoma State. He has twice scored 14 points in a game, including during the Bulldogs’ road win over Arkansas this season.