CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Illinois punter Blake Hayes was named to the Senior CLASS Award All-America second team, the Senior CLASS Award announced. The honor is given annually to the most outstanding senior student-athletes in Division I FBS football.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior or graduate student and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: classroom, community, character, and competition.
Hayes left Illinois with nearly every punting record, including season punts inside the 20, season punts inside the 20 percentage, season 50+ yard punts, career punting average, career punt yards, career punts inside the 20, and career 50+ yard punts. He was a five-time All-Big Ten selection, four-time Academic All-Big Ten selection, two-time Big Ten Distinguished Scholar, 2021 Academic All-District, and a 2021 Ray Guy Award finalist.
Hayes did one of the most creative philanthropic efforts in college football in 2021, donating to the Robert Connor Dawes Foundation's Connor's Run to support research for brain cancer in children for every punt he landed inside the 20-yard line. Hayes accepted matches to his donation and raised over $5,000 for the Foundation.
Hayes is now preparing for the NFL Draft. He was rated the No. 5 NFL Draft punting prospect in the nation by Mel Kiper during the preseason.
2021 Senior CLASS Award FBS Football First Team All-Americans
Thomas Booker, Stanford
Sean Clifford, Penn State
Jordan Davis, Georgia
Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan
* Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh
* - Senior CLASS Award winner
2021 Senior CLASS Award FBS Football Second Team All-Americans
Blake Hayes, Illinois
Hayden Howerton, SMU
Silas Kelly, Coastal Carolina
Chris Olave, Ohio State
Brock Purdy, Iowa State
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