It’s probably a safe expectation that when you graduate a back-to-back Ray Guy Award winner and consensus All-American, your team’s punting game is going to take at least a step back, if not a drastic one. Not at Utah.
It’s probably a safe expectation that when you graduate a back-to-back Ray Guy Award winner and consensus All-American, your team’s punting game is going to take at least a step back, if not a drastic one.
Not at Utah.
Sophomore and first-year Ute Mitch Wishnowsky may be on his way to win the Ray Guy Award for the third consecutive year for Utah. Maybe that’s too soon to say, but Utah is leading the nation in net punting (48.1 yards per punt). ESPN named their Mid-Season All-Americans in college football on Wednesday, and Wishnowsky was listed under the punting slot.
“I think Tommy [Hackett] sort of set the standard here,” Wishnowsky said. “He was really popular.”
Wishnowsky, who is out-kicking his mate Hackett–48.10 to Hackett’s 43.67 in 2015, which earned him consensus All-America honors–is quick to make sure his teammates get most of the credit for his success. “I really necessarily think myself [a weapon], but just the punt team. They’re always down there, and everyone busts their ass to get down there.”
Wishnowsky has led the nation in punt average the entire season, currently with 49.1 yards per boot. He has eight punts inside the 10-yard line, good enough to tie for the national lead, and has half a dozen that pinned the opponent inside the 5. Not just an accuracy specialist, he also has 14 punts over 50 yards (fourth in the nation).
Grateful for the tradition of punting at Utah, Wishnowsky has a great opportunity to perfect his craft. “I’m just following up from Tommy. Coach Whit makes a big emphasis on punting and special teams.”
He stays in contact with Hackett and former Utes punter Nick Marsh. The three often will meet up, talk punting, and play a bit of FIFA to blow off some steam.