Blake Hayes named to media’s All-Big Ten Third Team

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Photo Courtesy of Fighting Illini Athletics

Senior Blake Hayes punts the ball during competition.

By Jackson Janes, Assistant Sports Editor

Senior punter Blake Hayes was named to the media’s All-Big Ten Third Team, the Big Ten announced on Thursday.

After being recognized as the 2019 Big Ten Punter of the Year, Hayes has averaged 43.7 yards per punt in 2020, the fourth-highest average in the Big Ten. The Melbourne, Australia, native also holds the Illinois program record for most career punt yards with 10,811 yards.

Despite being known for his kicking ability, Hayes has also been dangerous on the ground this season, successfully converting two fake punts (at Nebraska on Nov. 21 and at Northwestern on Dec. 12.

This is Hayes’ fourth time earning All-Big Ten honors, as he was named an honorable mention by the media in 2017, All-Big Ten Third Team by the media (coaches’ honorable mention) in 2018 and All-Big Ten First Team (coaches and media) in 2019.

Kicker James McCourt also received honorable mention recognition, as he has gone 6-for-10 in field goal attempts so far this season, including a game-winning 47-yard field goal at Rutgers on Nov. 14.

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