2024 Sun Belt K/P Rankings: Michael Hughes, Ryan Hanson Out-Kick the Rest

    Sun Belt kickers and punters are all over awards lists, including some CFN All-Americans, but where are they in the 2024 Sun Belt K/P Rankings?

    With some kickers transferring, like ULM kicker Derek McCormick to Indiana, and others graduating, including Arkansas State’s Ray Guy Award finalist punter William Przystup, there’s room at the top for the remaining special teams standouts.

    Let’s look at who is a kick-ahead of the competition in the 2024 Sun Belt K/P Rankings.

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    2024 Sun Belt Kicker Rankings

    5) Andrew Stein, Southern Miss Golden Eagles

    Entering his sixth season with Southern Miss, Andrew Stein started his career kicking field goals as a true freshman in 2019 — going 18-22 that season — but didn’t attempt another one until last season. He found his old form, making 17-23 with a long of 52 yards.

    Stein will be the Golden Eagles’ primary kicker in 2024, his final collegiate season.

    4) Scott Taylor Renfroe, Troy Trojans

    After taking a redshirt as a true freshman in 2021 before manning kickoff duties part-time in 2022, Scott Taylor Renfroe took over FG duties last season. He ended up tying for the second most made FGs in the conference, hitting 19 of his 24 attempts.

    Nearly hitting 80% his first season trusted with FGs bodes well for Renfroe being tasked to do the same his junior year.

    3) Dominic Zvada, Arkansas State Red Wolves

    On the Lou Gorza Award watch list as a true freshman in 2022 and sophomore last year, Dominic Zvada has made 85% of his career field goals, hitting 34 of 40. After one miss in 2022, he had five misses last year (17-22), but he hit the second-longest FG in the conference last year at 53 yards.

    He’s still just a junior heading into the 2024 season; if Zvada stays on track, he’ll end up on top of this list by the time he’s done.

    2) Mason Shipley, Texas State Bobcats

    Mason Shipley started his career on kickoff duties in 2022, nailing his only field goal attempt — a 54-yarder — that year, before taking over field goals full-time in 2023. He’s still perfect, making 15-15 with a long of 47 last season and earning 2023 All-Sun Belt First Team honors.

    He did miss one PAT (57-58) and only sparingly kicked off with 19 attempts and no touchbacks, landing him just shy of the top spot.

    1) Michael Hughes, Appalachian State Mountaineers

    Michael Hughes doesn’t just take care of field goals for the Mountaineers; he’s also the full-time kickoff man for the last three seasons, with 252 kickoffs and averaging 60.6 yards per kickoff.

    MORE: 2024 Sun Belt QB Rankings

    He’s 28 of 34 on field goals (82.3%), including nailing 19 of 22 attempts with a conference-long 54-yarder last year. On top of that, Hughes went 54-54 on PATs, earning a 2023 All-Sun Belt Second Team, a CFN All-American Second Team nod, and cementing his status on top of the 2024 Kicker Rankings.

    Honorable Mention: Kenneth Almendares, Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns

    2024 Sun Belt Punter Rankings

    5) Bryce Lofton, Southern Miss Golden Eagles

    After spending his first three seasons in Junior College at Copiah-Lincoln C.C., Bryce Lofton took over punting duties full-time for Southern Miss last year. On 60 punts, he managed four touchbacks while averaging 40.4 yards a kick.

    4) Robert Cole, Troy Trojans

    After transferring in from NW Military Institute, Robert Cole took over as the primary punter for the Trojans in 2023. In his first year on the job, he led the Sun Belt in touchbacks with six, averaging 42.3 yards per kick on 52 tries, going over 50 yards 13 times — the second most in the conference.

    3) Braxton Gilbeau, UL-Monroe Warhawks

    Braxton Gilbeau walked-on to the Warhawks team in 2021 and patiently waited for his time. He was rewarded last season, earning the primary punter spot, kicking 61 times with a 41-yard average, including a conference-long 74-yarder, going over 50 yards eight times, and three touchbacks.

    2) John McConnell, Marshall Thundering Herd

    Marshall’s primary punter for the last two years, John McConnell, has 132 punts to his name, averaging 40.9 yards per kick with nine career touchbacks. He was named 2023 All-Sun Belt Third Team after 61 punts for 42.8 yards per kick, tying Braxton Gilbeau for the longest at 74 yards.

    1) Ryan Hanson, James Madison Dukes

    A 2023 All-Sun Belt Second Team selection and 2023 CFN All-American Second Teamer, Ryan Hanson tops our list after his fourth year in the conference, but his first with JMU.

    KEEP READING: 2024 Sun Belt Power Rankings

    He spent three seasons at Arkansas State, kicking 156 times for 43.1 yards. He averaged 40.6 on 59 punts last year.

    Honorable Mention: Evan Crenshaw, Coastal Carolina

    Miss any action from the top college QB Rankings during the 2023 football season? Want to track all the movement with the college football transfer portal? College Football Network has you covered with that and more!

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