Narveson, Haggerty III both land on award watch lists

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Credit: WKU Athletics

Redshirt sophomore kicker Brayden Narveson celebrates a field goal at Florida Atlantic. The Hilltoppers fell to the Owls 10-6 in Boca Raton, Florida on Nov. 7, 2020. 

Jake Moore, Sports Editor

Two members of WKU’s special teams unit landed on preseason watch lists for prestigious NCAA awards on Wednesday. Punter John Haggerty III was placed on the Ray Guy Award watch list and kicker Brayden Narveson was put on the watch list for the Lou Groza Award.

The Lou Groza Award is named for the Cleveland Browns’ Hall of Fame kicker and is given to the best kicker in all of collegiate football. Groza won four NFL championships during his time with Cleveland and was named Sporting News NFL Player of the Year in 1954. Groza’s skill and value on the field cemented the idea in team exec’s minds that a kicker should always have a place on a football roster.

Narveson transferred to the Hill prior to the 2020 campaign and won the starting kicking job during fall camp. The newcomer completed 13-of-14 field goal attempts and was a perfect 27-of-27 on extra point attempts in 2020, a remarkable season that ranks as one of the best in the program’s 102-year history. Narveson’s 93% field goal completion rate tied for third among all FBS kickers and ranked second for a single season all-time in WKU history. Narveson was just one of 20 kickers placed on the Groza watch list and looks to make a run at the award in the upcoming season.

The Ray Guy Award was created by the Augusta Sports Council in 2000 to honor the Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee of the same name. The winner of the award is chosen by a number of statistics including net punting average, punts inside the opponents’ 20-yard line, total yardage punted, average returned yardage and percentage of punts not returned. The winner of the honor must also be a team leader that exhibits self-discipline.

Haggerty averaged 45.7 yards on 56 punts across the 2020 season, both of those statistics ranking seventh in all of FBS. The Aussie’s 53.25-yard average on eight punts against FIU on Nov. 21 was the best-ever mark for a Hilltopper in a single game with a minimum of four punts. Haggerty also landed on the CoSIDA Academic All-American First Team earlier this month thanks to his 4.0 GPA in his Organizational Leadership graduate program, proving that he can lead both on and off the field.

Narveson, Haggerty and the rest of the Hilltoppers will take the field to open the season against UT Martin on Sept. 2.

Sports Editor Jake Moore can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @Charles_JMoore.