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Tom Hackett may describe his job as "kicking bacon down a field for people's entertainment," but there's no one better in college football.
The Utah junior won the Ray Guy Award, given annually to the nation's best punter, during ESPN's college football postseason awards show in Orlando, Fla., on Thursday night after being named a Walter Camp All-American earlier in the evening.
Hackett said the win came as a surprise.
"I just had a sit down and was enjoying my time here," he said. "I was watching the superstars accepting these awards, then I heard my name and I was a happy man."
Hackett is the first Utah player to win a National College Football Awards Association honor. Hackett has also earned first-team all Pac-12 honors and been named to All American teams by CBS, USA Today and SB Nation. Hackett is the first Pac-12 punter to win the Ray Guy Award.
A team sending out its punter isn't often a welcome sight, but Hackett instilled a confidence when he took the field that he could make the ball do what he wanted it to do. He often did with a unique combination of spin and rugby-style kicking that "flipped the field" for the Utes.
He led the nation with 35 punts inside the 20 yard line and 19 punts inside the 10, putting 45.5 percent of his punts inside the opponent's 20 yard line total. He ranked No. 2 nationally with 47.0 yards per punt, and he had 3,619 punt yards on the year to set a new school record.
Hackett said he felt out of place at times rubbing elbows with Heisman contenders Marcus Mariota and Dak Prescott, pulling his long hair back into a bun and suiting up for the evening. But he added that he was proud to see his offseason input - into his strength, conditioning and technique - be so richly rewarded.
"I'm just a young buck Aussie that was learning how to do the bloody thing a few years ago," he said. "I never really thought this was going to happen. I'm stoked to win this award."
Hackett was a Ray Guy weekly honoree three times this year, in games against Fresno State, UCLA and Stanford. Hackett beat out Alabama's JK Scott and Idaho's Austin Rehkow for the trophy.
Fellow senior Nate Orchard was also honored during the evening, landing on the Walter Camp All-American team at defensive end alongside Hackett.
Hackett might've had one of the more memorable awards show lines when he told emcee Rece Davis that the thing he enjoyed about American football versus Australian Rules football was "as a punter I don't have to have to run very far."
He had at least one more Thursday night, as he went out on the hunt for a post-award meal: "Some wings and a beer sound pretty good."