Valparaiso University football sixth-year senior punter Evan Matthes (Reston, Va. / South Lakes [West Virginia]) was recognized among the nation’s best at his position on Saturday as he was named a 2023 FCS Punter of the Year Award semifinalist, as announced by the Augusta Sports Council.
Matthes, named to the All-PFL First Team and Academic All-PFL First Team this season as well, led the PFL and ranked 13th nationally in punting average at 43.2, which ranked fourth in single-season program history. He went 2-for-2 passing this season, twice successfully converting first downs on fake punts. The standout punter pinned 20 of his 50 boots inside the 20 with a long of 70. He had 10 punts that covered 50+ yards.
The team’s Special Teams Player of the Year, Matthes was named PFL Special Teams Player of the Week on Nov. 5 after playing a crucial role in the field-position battle in the Nov. 4 win over Dayton. He was a member of the 2023 Preseason FCS Punter of the Year Watch List, earned a spot on the 2022 All-PFL Second Team and was named the team’s Special Teams Player of the Year last season.
The candidates were evaluated by the FCS Punter of the Year Award committee on their overall statistics and contribution to the team. Particular emphasis was placed on net punting average, number of times a punt was downed or kicked out-of-bounds inside the opponents 20-yard line, total yardage punted, average returned yardage and percentage of punts not returned. The winner must display team leadership, self-discipline and have a positive impact on the team’s success.
A national voting body of FCS sports information directors, conference representatives and sports writers will choose the winner from our top 10 semifinalists. The winner will be announced on Dec. 15.
Matthes has continued a recent history of Valpo success in the punting department as Ben Niesner was named an FCS National Punter of the Year Semifinalist in Spring 2021.
2023 FCS Punter of the Year Award Semifinalists
Aaron Trusler Richmond
Aidan Laros UT Martin
Austin Dunlap Southeastern Louisiana
Brendan Hall Montana State
Evan Matthes Valparaiso
Grant Burkett Missouri State
Jack Burgess Weber State
Orion Phillips Murray State
Tyler Pastula University at Albany
Will Lynch LIU