COLUMBUS, Ohio – Consider all the tuck-your-tail moments Ohio State punter Drue Chrisman has had to endure this year, and yet he has still risen to the challenge to become one of the best punters in the nation:
• He was the guy who had to replace the beloved “punter from down unter,” four-year starter and 2016 Ray Guy Award finalist Cameron Johnston;
• He got called out by a coach for his hair being too long (although he grew it for the purpose of cutting and donating those locks to charity in honor of his Grandmother, who is battling cancer);
• He had to shiver on the sidelines for one whole game, never even getting to play because the Ohio State offense did nothing but score, score, score, score, score, score, score and score;
• He only has one video – https://twitter.com/DChrisman91/status/923248678374166528 – that captures him flipping a bottle successfully onto his (freshly shaved) head; and
• He doesn’t even get to be listed among his friends and peers in the punting community because he hasn’t punted the requisite 3.6 times per game to qualify for NCAA statistics.
Regardless, Chrisman was named today a semifinalist for the Ray Guy Award, which is presented by the Augusta (Ga.) Sports Council to the national punter of the year.
Chrisman is averaging 43.1 yards off his 29 kicks with 18 punts dropped inside the 20. Perhaps most impressively, opponents have yet to return a single punt this season which has Ohio State positioned as the No. 7 net punting team in the nation and No. 1 in the Big Ten. Ohio State is the only school to not allow a punt return in 2017.
Chrisman, a red-shirt freshman from Lawrenceburg, Ind., by way of Cincinnati LaSalle High School, and the Buckeyes are back in action Saturday at 3:30 p.m. against Illinois. It will be senior day at Ohio Stadium. ABC will televise.