UC Davis senior Daniel Whelan appeared on Wednesday’s preseason watch list for the FCS Punter of the Year award, as administered by the Augusta Sports Council.
This is the second time in as many years that the sustainable environmental design major has made the roster of candidates. The Augusta Sports Council, also known for the FBS’ Ray Guy Award, inaugurated an FCS version of its honor in 2019.
Whelan captured All-Big Sky Conference third-team honors from both the league coaches and the publication Phil Steele’s following his junior year. He ranked third in the Big Sky and seventh nationally with a 44.07 gross average, with 17 of his 57 attempts at 50 yards or more. Whelan also pinned opponents inside their own 20-yard lines 23 times, including six instances in the 2019 finale at Sacramento State – a feat that earned him ROOT SPORTS Big Sky Conference Special Teams Player of the Week accolades.
Whelan enters his final season with a career average of 42.60. In comparison, the top two punters in school history are Colton Schmidt (41.12) and Colby Wadman (40.96), each of whom went on to NFL careers. Whelan graduated from Rancho Mirage High School in 2017 but originally hails from Dublin, Ireland.
The 2020 season was originally scheduled to start this Saturday. However, per the Big Sky Conference’s Aug. 7 announcement, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has suspended the season to no earlier than the 2021 calendar year.
– Mark Honbo