As various publications begin producing their upcoming previews of the 2015 college football season, many will provide their own predictions for who they believe should take home individual awards at the end of the season.
Last season, Marcus Mariota won the Heisman Trophy, the award that goes to the nation's best player over the course of the season as selected by a large group of sportswriters and former football players. Mariota, the former quarterback for the Oregon Ducks, had a fantastic year in which the Ducks made the National Championship game largely in part due to Mariota's absurd 42 touchdowns compared with only 4 interceptions.
Mariota's performance over the course of the season displays the type of effort, skill, and hard work required to bring home what is arguably college football's most coveted trophy - the Heisman. Entering the 2015 season many names have been floated around as preseason favorites for the trophy including TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin, Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones, and Georgia running back Nick Chubb.
However, we at Blogger So Dear have a different name which should be in the hunt for this prestigious award. As fans of Wake Forest, a team not traditionally considered by the national media to be a contender year-in and year-out in the college, we are well aware of the bias against those who might be referred to as "the little guy" and it is for this reason that we would be utterly remiss in failing to promote the Heisman candidacy of one of the most underrated players in all of college football: senior punter Alexander Kinal.
As the nation begins to become aware of another Australian hero in one Matthew Dellavedova, we can only snicker to think that we have been bringing the Down Under Thunder for several years now.
Throughout his first three years in Winston-Salem, all Alex Kinal has done is break records. Well and punt.....a lot.
In three seasons Kinal has booted the ball an astonishing 262 times (or an average of 87.3 punts per season). While his use count has decreased each of his three years as a Demon Deacon, from 95 times in 2013 to 86 times in 2014 to only 81 times in 2015, Kinal continues to impress in ways other than just sheer number of punts over the course of the year.
In 2015, Kinal managed to punt the ball 81 times without recording a single touchback, an accomplishment which provided a Demon Deacon team desperate to win the field position game with a much-needed spark several times throughout the season.
Kinal finished last season ranked 21st in the nation in punt average, with the average punt sailing 43.64 yards - or put another way an average of 294.6 yards per game. To put these yards in context, the Demon Deacon offense only averaged 216.3 yards per game last season, really indicating the impressive type of yardage Kinal was putting up on a regular basis.
Despite falling just shy of leading the nation in punts for a third consecutive year (a devastating blow honestly), Kinal's 81 punts were enough to vault him to the top of the Wake Forest all-time list for punts, past the legendary Ryan Plackemeier, and it does not appear to be a record which will fall any time soon. Plackemeier booted the ball 220 times during his time as a Demon Deacon, a record Kinal has already broken by 42 punts with a minimum of 12 games remaining.
To provide further context for the voluminous number of times Kinal has been called in to punt the football through his first 36 games in Winston-Salem, check out Kinal's current pace compared to the all-time ACC and NCAA punt leaders:
Career Punts through the 2014 season: 262 (36 games)
Punts Needed to break Ryan Quigley's ACC Record of 284: 23
Punts Needed to break Nick Harris' NCAA Record of 322: 61
Kinal's Yearly Average: 87.33
Quigley's Yearly Average: 71.0
Harris' Yearly Average: 80.5
Kinal's Current Final Pace: 349 punts
As you can see, merely by maintaining the average number of punts per game through his first three seasons, Kinal will break Ryan Quigley's ACC punt record somewhere around the third or fourth game of the upcoming season. While Nick Harris' record of 322 punts in a four-year career will take a little bit longer to break, the Deacs would need to have an explosive year on offense just to keep Kinal from absolutely shattering the all-time NCAA record.
If things go as expected, Kinal should break the record around the eighth or ninth game of the year and then have the final third of the season to pile on punts to ensure nobody again in NCAA history is as prolific at bombing the ball back to the other team as Alex Kinal - the Australian Assassin.
It is our firm belief at Blogger So Dear that Alex Kinal deserves media attention for these career accomplishments at Wake Forest. We furthermore believe that Kinal is unreservedly qualified for the media circus that frequently follows the frontrunners for the Heisman campaign as he has successfully dealt with the frenzy surrounding his impending assault on the Wake punting record up to this point which has included rumors of a physical Kinal Kount brought to games, weekly analyses regarding exactly how many punts Kinal had in the previous week's game, and the twitter account @KinalKount which appears to chronicle almost every time Alex lowers the boom on fourth down.
It is time for Wake Forest fans to band together for a common cause over the summer and during the upcoming football season. Alex Kinal deserves our support for the Heisman Trophy and it is our responsible - no, our duty - to come out in throngs and support this well-deserved candidacy. Without any further ado we officially launch the 2015 Kinal Kampaign for Heisman and we are accepting any and all offers to get the word out about the man, the myth, the legend....the Australian Assassin Alex Kinal.
Check back throughout the summer for more information on the Kinal Kampaign and what we can all expect this season as we embark on this journey together in an attempt to get Alex Kinal nominated for the Heisman Trophy.