SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Furman’s Grayson Atkins, Samford’s Mitchell Fineran and Chattanooga’s Victor Ulmo are among 31 collegiate kickers on the watch list for the Fred Mitchell Award, which honors place-kickers for their excellence on the and for continued community service during their offseason.
“We are once again pleased to recognize the many outstanding college kickers and community-minded individuals who have come to the attention of the Fred Mitchell Award selection committee. We will continue to monitor these kickers and others throughout the 2019 season and take note of their achievements,” said Fred Mitchell, a long-time Chicago Tribune sports columnist who enjoyed a distinguished career as one of the nation’s first prominent small-college place-kicking specialists at Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio.
The recipient of the Fred Mitchell Award will be announced in mid-December.
Furman’s Atkins earned consensus All-SoCon honors and second-team Associated Press All-America accolades in 2018 after converting 11-of-13 field goals, including his final 11 attempts. Among his makes were four from 50-plus yards, three of which came against Samford that helped net him STATS National Special Teams Player of the Week honors and the first of three SoCon Player of the Week scrolls. He drilled a 39-yard field goal in the Paladins' season opening, 46-13 win over Charleston Southern to tie the Furman record for consecutive made attempts (12) first set by Danny Marshall (2003). His 156 points, amassed over two-plus seasons, rank ninth in program history.
The SoCon's top multi-purpose specialist, he also averaged 42.7 yards on 47 punts (81-yarder versus The Citadel) and 60.6 yards on 55 kickoffs in 2018, leading the SoCon with 29 touchbacks (second place kicker in touchbacks had 15). His stellar work as a placekicker, punter and on kickoffs played a key role in Furman claiming a share of the 2018 Southern Conference Championship.
As a freshman in 2017 he converted 55-of-55 PATs and 9-of-13 field goals, including a pair of 46-yard connections against NC State. His 82 points that season paced the SoCon.
A communications major and two-time SoCcon Academic Honor Roll selection, he has been active in community service projects in his two years on campus, including volunteering at the Harvest Hope Food Bank and serving as a student leader at KidFuge, a week-long VBS at church, the past six years. He has also mentored students at Southside Christian School and mentored and trained several high school kickers.
As a freshman last season, Samford’s Fineran made 13-of-17 field goal attempts. He was also good on all 50 of his extra-point attempts, and he led the team in scoring with 89 points. So far this season, Fineran is 3-for-3 on field goals and 9-for-9 in extra-point attempts.
This is the second year in a row Chattanooga’s Ulmo has made the preseason list. He is currently 25-for-35 (71.4 percent) for his career, fifth all-time at UTC. He is 3-for-4 on field goals this season with a long of 37 yards. For his career, Ulmo is 23-for-27 (85.2 percent) from inside 40 yards.
For the Fred Mitchell Award's full release, click here.