Heading into the 2017 college football season, WalterFootball.com will debut our projections for the nation's leaders during the fall. The All-American teams always have some surprises and the stars of next fall could be the headlining players next April in the 2018 NFL Draft.
First-Team Kicker: Daniel Carlson, Auburn
Carlson went 28-of-32 in 2016, including four field goals from over 50 yards away. His long for the year was 53 yards, and he connected from that distance twice. Carlson had a phenomenal season and was 4-of-7 in the 50-yard range and a perfect 6-for-6 in the 40-yard range. Carlson was 23-for-27 (85 percent) as a sophomore in 2015. He made all 40 of his extra points. Carlson showed his strength with a long field goal of 56 yards. As a freshman, he was 18-of-24 (75 percent). Carlson hasn't missed an extra point entering his senior year. He looks like a safe bet to be the First-Team All American selection.
Second-Team Kicker: Eddy Pineiro, Florida
Pineiro became an internet legend when video of him making a 77-yard field goal went viral. In 2016, Pineiro validated the hype and fierce recruiting war as he kicked well for the Gators, connecting on 21-of-25 with long field goals of 54, 53 and 54 yards. Pineiro hit some clutch kicks for an offense that struggled to score points. He has a ton of natural ability with a powerful, accurate leg. Pineiro could be even better now that he has a year of experience and Florida has better coaching.
Third-Team Kicker: Michael Badgley, Miami
In 2016, Badgley was 21-of-26 with a long of 51 yards. Badgley hit on 83 percent of his field goals in 2015 and made all 40 of his extra point attempts. He showed some leg strength with a 57-yard field goal, but was 1-for-3 on attempts over 50 yards. Badgley made 78 percent of his field goals as a freshman in 2014, but did miss four extra points that season. Badgley kicks in a great environment and could contend to be higher on this list.
Kicker Honorable Mentions: Notre Dame's Justin Yoon, Oregon's Aidan Schneider, Kentucky's Austin MacGinnis and Kansas State's Matthew McCrane.
First-Team Punter: JK Scott, Alabama
Scott punted well in 2016 for the Crimson Tide with an average of 47.2 yards per punt with a long of 66 yards. He was superb as a freshman for Alabama in 2014, averaging a booming 48 yards per punt with a long of 73 yards. It turned out to be the best season ever for a punter in Alabama school history. Scott dropped 56 percent of his punts inside the opponent's 20-yard line (31-for-55) that season. He was a First-Team All-SEC selection and finalist for the Ray Guy Award. Scott wasn't as good as a sophomore in 2015, averaging 44 yards per punt and recording a long of 59 yards. Scott could have his best season as a senior.
Second-Team Punter: Johnny Townsend, Florida
Townsend was excellent as a junior, averaging 47.9 yards per punt with a long of 62. He was so good that some NFL teams were doing scouting reports on him because there was consideration that he might declare early for the 2017 NFL Draft. Florida's offense struggled, but Townsend helped the Gators play field position with his booming punts to help his defense. In 2015, Townsend had a quality season for Florida as he averaged 45.4 yards per punt with a long of 61. He averaged 42 yards per punt in 2013 and redshirted in 2014.
Third-Team Punter: Will Gleeson, Ole Miss
In 2016, Gleeson averaged 44.1 yards per punt with a long of 60 yards. He had a strong debut for the Rebels in 2014 as he averaged 43 yards per punt with a long of 70 yards. In 2015, Gleeson averaged 41 yards per punt. After losing a lot of offensive talent to the 2017 NFL Draft, Gleeson could see his average go up in 2017. That could help him to land more All-American honors.
Punter Honorable Mentions: Tennessee's Trevor Daniel and Bowling Green's Joseph Davidson.