LUBBOCK, Texas – Texas Tech punter Austin McNamara was recognized Monday as a Freshman All-American in a list compiled by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA).
McNamara was essentially named the top freshman punter in the country, a fitting accolade after the Arizona native ranked among the nation’s leaders in yards per punt throughout the season. He is the first Red Raider punter all-time to garner Freshman All-America accolades.
Additionally, this is the third-consecutive season a Red Raider has been tabbed a Freshman All-American by either the FWAA or another publication. Jack Anderson earned the honor in 2017 by both ESPN and USA Today, while Adrian Frye collected similar accolades from the FWAA after leading the Big 12 in interceptions in 2018.
McNamara, one of 20 true freshmen on the 32-player team, led all FBS freshmen in yards per punt after averaging 45.0 yards per boot during his debut season. That average also ranked 16th nationally and second in the Big 12, just behind the 45.4 average from Kansas State punter Devin Anctil.
McNamara’s average marked the highest by a Tech freshman in school history and the fourth-highest all-time, trailing only the single-season marks of Mark Bounds from 1991 (46.8), Taylor Symmank from 2015 (46.0) and Alex Reyes from 2006 (45.2).
His prowess helped the Red Raiders routinely set their defense in more-favorable positions as Tech closed the year ranked first in the Big 12 and fourth nationally in net punting. The Red Raiders pushed opponents into their own territory to the tune of 42.5 yards per punt after factoring in the return.
McNamara attempted 59 punts on the season, 20 of which that were downed inside the 20-yard line. His average was boosted by 17 punts that went 50 yards or longer, including a season high 66-yard boot at Oklahoma.
Opponents only returned nine punts all season against McNamara as nearly half of his attempts (26) were waved for a fair catch. Tech ended the year ranked 26th nationally and third in the Big 12 after allowing only 5.2 yards per punt return.
The FWAA Freshman All-America Team was compiled by a 13-person panel of nationally-prominent college football experts, representing each of the FBS conferences along with the independents in selecting the team. Both true freshmen and redshirt freshmen were considered.