(Information provided by the University of Southern Mississippi)
Ray Guy, considered to be the greatest punter to ever live, and former Southern Miss letterwinner from 1970-72, earned a spot on the ESPN All-Time All-America first team as part of its 150-year celebration of college football this season.
The ESPN All-Time All-America team derived from the vote of a blue-ribbon panel assembled earlier this year. The 25 players represent a span of nearly 90 years, from the Roaring ’20s to the 21st century. They represent 19 schools, from Ohio State to Mississippi Valley State; nine conferences, from the Southeastern to the Ivy League; and both segments of Division I.
While Guy gets most of his recognition at punter, he proved to be one of the most versatile players in school history. A football and baseball star for the Golden Eagles, Guy’s legend began on the gridiron, where he set records in placekicking, punting and as a defensive back.
He was the first Southern Miss player to have his jersey retired and also became the first Golden Eagle football player, and first punter, ever inducted into the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame as a member of the 2004 Division I-A class. Ten years later, he became the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s first punter as part of the Class of 2014.
Guy set the standard that punters have tried to emulate since his playing days were finished. The Greater Augusta Sports Council believed that Guy is the best punter in the history of NCAA collegiate football and because of that belief, named an annual award in his honor. That award, the Ray Guy Award, is given annually to the best collegiate punter in the nation.
The Thomson, Ga., native set school records as a placekicker, punter and defensive back and was the NCAA punting champion in 1972. He also was named to Southern Miss’ Team of the Century as well.
As a senior in 1972, Guy led the FBS with a 46.2-yard average. He averaged 44 yards per punt over three seasons. Guy also was the team’s place-kicker and a three-year starting safety with 18 career interceptions. In 1972, he was a member of The Sporting News, Football Writers Association, Walter Camp, Gridiron, Football News, Playboy and Associated Press All-America teams.
Guy had an outstanding professional career after being selected by the Oakland Raiders in the first round (23rd pick overall) in the 1973 draft. He had an all-pro career, playing 13 seasons in the NFL – seven of them as a pro-bowl selection, leading the league in punting three times and has been honored as a member of the 75th Anniversary All-Time Team, the Super Bowl Silver Anniversary Team and as a member of the NFL All-Century team. He also was a member of three Super Bowl teams.