NEW YORK--Arizona punter Danny Baugher was named a third-team All-American by the Associated Press on Tuesday.
The senior from Phoenix Mountain Pointe High School led the nation with a 47.5 yard average for much of the season until an injury that forced him out of action in UA's seventh game caused him to fall below the factor of competing in 75 percent of a team's games. Still, his figure was the best in Division I.
He finished the year with 37 punts for 1,758 yards, with 11 downed inside the opponents' 20 yard-line, seven fair catches and eight touchbacks. His effort -- and a superb subsequent relief job by junior placekicker Nick Folk -- helped Arizona post a net punting figure of 36.0 yards. Under 2005 NCAA rules, all touchbacks subtracted 20 yards from net punting figures and Baugher and Folk combined to keep UA to only 10 touchbacks on its 61 punts, with 19 stuck inside the 20.
He was one of three finalists for the Ray Guy Award as the nation's top punter and attended the College Football Awards ceremonies in Orlando, Fla., last week. Ray Guy winner Ryan Plackemeier of Wake Forest told him "I would have won if I hadn't been hurt," Baugher said. Plackemeier has the official national punting title, finishing the year with a 47.2 average.
"I'm pleased to earn the distinction from the Associated Press, but it's a reflection of the whole punting unit and really the entire team's effort to work hard and improve," Baugher said.
UA coach Mike Stoops said Baugher's work in 2005 was instrumental in giving Arizona opportunities to win games. "Our field position was outstanding all year long and Danny's punting was a huge key. He has the entire arsenal -- the quick release, hang time, a great leg and good touch when it was necessary for shorter kicks," he said.
Baugher's 47.5 figure set an Arizona school season record, topping the mark of 44.6 yards by Joe Payton in 1965 by a wide margin. His senior season gave him a career mark of 42.1 yards per punt, and he holds the UA career mark with 225 total punts and 9,476 yards.
Baugher is UA's first AP All-American since wide receiver Dennis Northcutt was a first-team selection as a kick returner and running back Trung Canidate earned third-team honors in 1999. Receiver Bobby Wade was the Cats' most recent All-American, earning second-team honors from The Sporting News in 2002, while UA had two freshman All-Americans named by that organization last year -- cornerback Antoine Cason (1st team) and tackle Peter Graniello (2nd team). TSN's 2005 Freshman All-America squad will be named Dec. 19.
Baugher is the second UA punter and fourth kicker to earn All-America honors. Josh Miller was a first-team selection by the Football Writers Association of America and The Sporting News in 1992, and has punted for the Baltimore Stallions (CFL, 1994-95), Pittsburge Steelers (1996-2003) and New England Patriots since his two-year UA career. The others are place kickers Steve McLaughlin (Lou Groza Award and consensus first-team All-America) in 1992 and Max Zendejas (second-team The Sporting News) in 1985.
Seven Pac-10 Conference players earned first-team AP honors, the most of any conference. They were RB Reggie Busch of USC, RB Jerome Harrison of WSU, WR Dwayne Jarrett of USC, WR Mike Hass of Oregon State, Maurice Drew of UCLA (all-purpose), DL Haloti Ngata of Oregon and DB Darnell Bing of USC. Baugher was among nine other league players to earn second- or third-team honors.
The AP All-America panel is Lenn Robbins, New York Post; Chip Alexander, The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.); Tedd Miller, Seattle Post-Intelligencer; Jenni Carlson, The Oklahoman; Ken Gordon, The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch; Neal McCready, Mobile (Ala.) Register; and AP sports writers Greg Beacham in San Francisco, Jon Krawczynski in Minneapolis, Tim Reynolds in Miami, Jim Vertuno in Austin, Texas, and Ralph D. Russo in New York.