Oct 15, 2021; San Jose, California, USA; San Diego State Aztecs kicker Matt Araiza (2) punts during the fourth quarter against the San Jose State Spartans at CEFCU Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

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San Diego State P Matt Araiza declares for NFL draft

Ray Guy Award winner Matt Araiza of San Diego State announced Tuesday that he is declaring for the NFL draft.

Araiza set a single-season FBS record with a 51.19 punting average this season. The player nicknamed “Punt God” surpassed the mark of Texas A&M’s Braden Mann (50.98 in 2018).

Araiza also handled place-kicking and kickoffs for the Aztecs. But NFL teams will be seeking his powerful left foot primarily as a punter despite the 2021 season being his first in the starting role.

“To the past and present Aztecs I have had the privilege playing with, thank you for everything,” Araiza wrote in his announcement on Twitter. “… With gratitude, I am announcing my decision to declare for the 2022 NFL Draft.”

Araiza will be the rare specialist with a chance to be drafted on the second day when the second and third rounds are held.

Araiza was a unanimous first-team All-American this season. The only other San Diego State player to sweep the first-team honors was legendary runner Marshall Faulk, who did it in 1992 and 1993.

Araiza placed 37 punts inside the opponents’ 20-yard line and had six punts of at least 70 yards — including boots of 86 and 81 yards. The 86-yarder against San Jose State came with San Diego State backed up on its own 11-yard line and Araiza standing in his own end zone to field the snap.

As a kicker, Araiza was 18 of 28 on field goals this season, with a long of 53. He was 3 of 9 from 50 or more yards. Overall, Araiza made 50 of 68 field-goal attempts in three seasons for San Diego State.

In addition, 62 of Araiza’s 73 kickoffs this season went for touchbacks.

–Field Level Media

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