Hilltopper punter Jake Collins and placekicker Skyler Simcox were named to national watch lists for their positions on Wednesday, the Ray Guy Award (nation’s top punter) and Lou Groza Award (nation’s top kicker), respectively.

Western Kentucky University Football
Courtesy Western Kentucky University Athletics

Collins, a former walk-on punter from Louisville, earned his third consecutive Ray Guy Award Watch List designation after a sophomore campaign that saw him named to the Conference USA Second Team and the CampusInsiders.com Sophomore All-American Team. For the year, Collins average 42.7 yards per punt including seven punts of 50 yards or more. His average for the season was the third-best single-season mark in program history, and his career average of 42.2 yards is on pace to rank as the best in school history.

Simcox, a transfer who became eligible immediately last fall, took hold of the starting job five games into the season and never let go. As a true sophomore, Simcox is one of just six returning kickers in the nation to connect on multiple field goals of 50 yards or longer last season, and he became just the third kicker in program history to connect on two 50-yard kicks in a career and only the second to do it in a single season. Simcox was 16-of-22 in field goals, the fourth-most in a season in WKU history, and 70-of71 in field goals, and his 118 points tied former kicker Garrett Schwettman’s 2014 mark for the second-most points scored by a kicker in a single season.

Western Kentucky University Football
Courtesy Western Kentucky University Athletics

With their joint designation, WKU is one of only five schools nationally to have a player named to both the Ray Guy and Lou Groza Award Watch Lists, joining California, Florida, Middle Tennessee and Penn State.

Collins and Simcox join three other Hilltoppers on national watch lists as the preseason lists began to announce their early leaders on Monday. The National College Football Awards Association member program will announce watch list members from July 10-20 ahead of the 2017 season.

Hilltoppers on National Watch Lists
· P Jake Collins: Ray Guy Award (Top punter)
· OL Dennis Edwards: Rimington Trophy (Top center)
· K Skyler Simcox: Lou Groza Award (Top kicker)
· DB Marcus Ward: AFCA Good Works Team
· QB Mike White: Maxwell Award (Top player)

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Kyle Neaves
Associate Athletic Director, Athletic Communications/Media Relations
WKU Athletics