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Maryland punter Wade Lees named to Ray Guy Award watch list

Wade Lees, a former Australian League Football player, started all 13 games for the Terps as a 28-year-old freshman in 2016.
Wade Lees, a former Australian League Football player, started all 13 games for the Terps as a 28-year-old freshman in 2016. (Amy Davis/Baltimore Sun)

Maryland sophomore punter Wade Lees was named to the preseason watch list for the Ray Guy Award, the Augusta Sports Council announced Wednesday.

The award, to be announced live during the College Football Awards on ESPN on Dec. 7, honors the nation's top Division I punter.

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Lees, a former Australian League Football player, started all 13 games for the Terps as a 28-year-old freshman in 2016, punting 72 times for 2,868 yards (39.8 average). He placed 20 punts inside the 20-yard line, recorded only one touchback and forced 34 fair catches.

Wade Lees walked off the plane last January to begin his new life as a football player at Maryland wearing the same clothes as when he left he his mother's home in the suburbs of Melbourne, Australia.

Lees is one of 29 candidates on the list, which includes 2016 finalists Michael Dickson (Texas) and Mitch Wishnowsky (Utah), last season's winner. Returning semifinalists include Joseph Davidson (Bowling Green), Johnny Townsend (Florida) and Zach Sinor (Oklahoma State).

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The Ray Guy Award committee will select 10 semifinalists, who will be announced Nov. 16. A national body of Football Bowl Subdivision sports information directors, media representatives and previous award winners will then vote for the top three finalists, to be announced Nov. 21, before casting their final ballots.

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