Student-athletes and coaches who earned all-league honors in 2014-15
Recipients maintain cumulative grade point averages of 3.0 or better
Marshall 26, LA Tech 23
Marshall 26, LA Tech 23
Marshall defeated the Blazers 23-18 on Saturday
Came to Marshall as walk-on, but quickly earned scholarship after one semester by winning Herd punting job in his true freshman season, when he led all FBS freshmen in punting average (45.19 yards), which is the MU single-season record … Opens senior year as one of the top punters in the country, coming off an All-Conference USA first team selection … Has a chance to be the fifth four-year regular punter in Marshall history, joining Bob Esbaugh (1971-74) of the Young Thundering Herd, Chris Hanson (1995-98), Curtis Head (1999-2002) and Kase Whitehead (2008-11) … Will again be the holder on Herd place-kicks.
JUNIOR SEASON (2014): Voted as All-Conference USA first team punter by league coaches following a season in which he kicked 42 times for 1,581 yards (44.1-yard average), with one blocked (versus Louisiana Tech) … Left 12 kicks inside the 20, with only five touchbacks and had 12 boots of 50 or more yards, including a season-long 64-yarder in opening win at Miami (Ohio) … Average of 44.1 would have ranked in top 20 nationally, but with Herd’s prolific offense, he didn’t get enough kicks (nine short of minimum needed) … Began season on Ray Guy Award Watch List … Became holder for place-kicks and had a hand in 82-for-82 on PATs and 17-of-21 on field goals.
SOPHOMORE SEASON (2013): On Ray Guy Award Watch List in preseason and was punter on All-Conference USA Preseason Team selected by coaches … Punted 56 times for 2,366 yards, a 42.2-yard average … Had season-long 65-yarder in opening win over Miami (Ohio) … Had 13 punts of 50 or more yards, including eight of 55 or longer … Placed 13 kicks inside the 20, with only five touchbacks … Went through midseason slump before rebounding in Herd’s final four games, including 31-20 Military Bowl victory over Maryland, where Williams’ seven kicks were crucial in field position battle, including dropping punts on the Terps’ 1, 5, 1 and 8 … Eight of 14 punts in final three regular-season games (FIU, East Carolina, Rice) traveled 49 or more yards, with an average of 46.4 yards for the 14 kicks.
FRESHMAN SEASON (2012): In rookie season, set Marshall record for punting average of 45.19 yards, edging Travis Colquitt’s school mark of 45.08 set during Colquitt’s 1994 senior season … Punted 43 times for 1,943 yards … Freshman All-American choice by Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and CollegeFootballNews.com ... Conference USA All-Freshman Team ... Semifinalist for Ray Guy Award ... Led all FBS freshmen in punting average (45.19)... Booted 13 punts more than 50 yards, including five of 60 or more yards … Placed 16 inside the 20, with only four touchbacks … Made impressive debut in season opener at West Virginia, with boots of 39 (to the WVU 6), 53, 54 and 59 yards … Averaged 46.9 yards on 22 punts in road games … Punted season-high seven times in loss at UCF, with every punt traveling at least 40 yards, averaging 47.0 … Was C-USA Special Teams Player of the Week Sept. 24 following five-punt game at Rice (Sept. 22), including (season-long) 66- and 62-yarders and two other punts downed inside the Owls’ 5.
HERD FILE: Born Aug. 13, 1993 in Springfield, Ore., also the birthplace of former Herd star baseball pitcher Dan Straily, who is with the Houston Astros’ system … Earned undergraduate degree in Marketing in May 2015 … Moved to Indiana with family the summer before his sophomore year of high school … Spent prep-school year (2011-12) at Atlanta Sports Academy, where he averaged 47 yards per punt before coming to Marshall as walk-on … Class 5A All-Indiana first team and all-conference as a senior at R. Nelson Snider High in Fort Wayne … Lettered in football as a junior and senior ... Averaged 39.2 yards per punt as a senior and 34.5 yards as a junior … Had scholarship offers from Buffalo and FCS Southern and Division II Valdosta State, with other interest from Auburn, Arkansas, TCU and Vanderbilt … Also had walk-on offer from Ball State.