Less than a week after becoming the first Lou Groza Award winner in Utes history, junior kicker Matt Gay has earned a spot on the Associated Press All-America First Team as well as the Football Writers Association of America First Team. Both organizations announced their selections on Monday.
Utah punter Mitch Wishnowsky joined Gay as both an AP and FWAA honoree. Wishnowsky, who was a finalists for this year’s Ray Guy Award as the nation’s top punter, earned a second-team FWAA selection as well as third-team AP honors.
Three of the teams used by the NCAA to determine the season’s consensus All-Americans — Walter Camp, AP and FWAA — have now been announced with Gay and Wishnowsky having been named to all three. Sporting News, the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) and the consensus teams will be released later this week.
Gay, an Orem High School graduate, won the Lou Groza Award which annually goes to the nation’s best placekicker Thursday. On Monday, he became the 25th first-team All-America selection in program history (seventh by the AP) and the second kicker in Utes history selected to the AP’s first team. Kicker Louie Sakoda was a first-team selection in 2008 and a consensus All-American.
Utah’s other first-team AP honorees have been defensive lineman Luther Ellis (1994), offensive lineman Jordan Gross (2002), Sakoda (2008), defensive lineman Star Lotulelei (2012), punter Tom Hackett (2014, 2015) and Wishnowsky (2016).
Gay came to the Utes as a walk-on after playing two seasons of college soccer at Utah Valley University, and he earned a scholarship in October. During the season, he received word that the NCAA had granted him an additional season of eligibility through a clock extension related to his LDS Church mission.
Gay finished the regular season leading the nation with 27 field goals, a Utah single-season record, including eight field goals of 50 yards or more with a long of 56. Gay made 27 of 31 field goal attempts overall.
His 118 points ranked ninth in Football Bowl Subdivision and second in the Pac-12. He made all 37 of his point-after attempts.
Wishnowsky, last year’s Ray Guy Award winner, and Gay were were named to The Associated Press All-Pac-12 Conference First Team as well as the Walter Camp All-America Second Team on Thursday.
USU’S DAVIS HONORED
Utah State senior defensive back Jalen Davis, a resident of Mesa, Calif., earned second-team selections by the FWAA and the AP. Last week, Davis was selected as a Walter Camp Foundation First Team All-American. Davis finished the regular season leading the Mountain West Conference and ranked seventh in NCAA Div. I with five interceptions. He also ranked first in Mountain West and eighth nationally in passes defended (1.5 per game).