Special teams play has been much improved this season for Rutgers football and the addition of punter Ryan Anderson is a major reason why. His performance this season is bringing attention that Anderson deserves, as he was named to the Ray Guy Award watch list on Monday. The award is given annually to the top punter in college football.
Rutgers fans know the impact Anderson has made on the field this season. His impact in the win over Purdue was absolutely crucial to the outcome of that game. Anderson’s statistics are impressive and here is a breakdown from the press release:
Anderson leads the Big Ten and is No. 19 nationally with a 44.3 gross average per punt with 2,478 yards on 56 attempts through eight games. The mark is on pace to set the school record for a single season, which is currently held by Joe Radigan at 44.1 in 2006. In addition, Anderson is first with a 45.2 average in Big Ten play.
Anderson has 22 punts of at least 50 yards, matching the number for Rutgers of at least that distance from the previous three seasons combined. He has also booted six attempts of 60 or more yards with a long of 64 in the game versus Eastern Michigan.
In the field position battle, Anderson has helped the Scarlet Knights improve by nearly five yards and 57 spots in the national rankings from the same point last season with a 38.2 net average. He has had 16 pinned inside the 20-yard line and 35-of-56 kicks have not been returned. In the win over Purdue, Anderson had a net average of 40.1 yards on 12 attempts.
The watch list will be narrowed down to 10 semifinalists on November 16th. I think Anderson has a good shot to be included. Regardless, of all the graduate transfers added to the roster this season, Anderson has made the biggest impact. Running back Gus Edwards has been solid, but based on Anderson filling a position of need and greatly improving the performance of that role versus last season gives him the edge. Anderson transferred from Olivet College in Michigan, where he set an NCAA Division III single-season record with a 46.2-yard punting average last season to earn All-America honors. Credit Ash and the coaching staff for finding Anderson. His impact this season has been immense and hopefully he can finish his career on a high note in the remaining four games this season.