San Diego State Football: Matt Araiza Is MWwire’s 2021 Special Teams Player Of The Year
The Aztecs unleashed a punt god on the Mountain West this year and he’s our pick as the conference’s special teams standout.
An unparalleled special teams weapon.
Mountain West Wire’s 2021 postseason honors:
All-Conference Teams | Offensive Player of the Year | Defensive Player of the Year | Special Teams Player of the Year | Freshman of the Year | Newcomer of the Year | Coach of the Year | Coordinator of the Year
The Mountain West has been blessed with a number of top-flight specialists in recent seasons, but even we have never seen anything like what our overwhelming pick as special teams player of the year has done this fall.
San Diego State punter Matt Araiza came into the year as a well-established kicker, but following Tanner Kuljian’s departure the Aztecs turned to Araiza and asked him to handle punt duties, as well. It turned out to be one of the best decisions any coaching staff has made anywhere in the country: Not only has Araiza remained an offensive weapon, connecting on 15-of-24 field goal tries (including six from 40 or more yards), he’s put together the best punting season anyone has ever seen.
Heading into the Mountain West championship game, Araiza would be in a position to set the FBS single-season record with an average of 51.47 yards per punt, including a net of 44.67 which also leads the country. He’s already set other records for the most 50-yard and 60-yard punts in a season, building a national following and a Heisman campaign that, honestly, shouldn’t just be hyperbolic.
It seems extremely unlikely that we will ever see anyone else with such a capacity to flip a field, which has been a priceless advantage for a San Diego State team that has seized upon it to reach the doorstep of a conference title. All bow down before the #PuntGod.
The longest punt in the FBS this season, an 86-yarder courtesy of Matt Araiza. pic.twitter.com/IJGFoVNosO
— Jon Schaeffer (@jonschaeffer) October 16, 2021
— San Diego State Football (@AztecFB) November 14, 2021
Also received votes: Jonah Dalmas, kicker, Boise State; Ryan Stonehouse, punter, Colorado State