A strong returning special teams class for BYU dots the College Football Performance Awards (CFPA) Special Teams Watch Lists released on Monday with four players listed.
Senior punter Riley Stephenson and junior placekicker Justin Sorensen were both named to the CFPA Specialist Trophy watch list. BYU was the only team with two players on the list.
Stephenson recorded 1,985 yards on 47 punts, an average of 42.2 yards per punt, in 2011 on his way to being named to the Yahoo! Sports All-Independent First Team, Phil Steele All-Independent First Team and an FBS All-Independent Honorable Mention. The senior also earned ESPN.com's All-Bowl Team honors with 8 punts for 335 yards, an average of 41.9 yards, including seven inside the 20 and two over 50 yards vs. Tulsa in the Armed Forces Bowl.
Handling kickoff and field goal duties for BYU last year, Sorensen averaged 66.6 yards per kickoff and converting a school-record 48 of 48 PATs on the season. The South Jordan, Utah, native was a Phil Steele All-Independent First Team and FBS Independent Honorable Mention honoree.
Junior kick returner/wide receiver Cody Hoffman is on the CFPA All-Purpose Trophy watch list. Hoffman became BYU's single-season leader in kickoff returns (36) and kickoff return yards (879) in 2011 while also totaling 61 catches for 943 yards and 10 touchdowns as the Cougars' leading receiver. In all, the junior racked up 1,825 all-purpose yards, the sixth-best single-season mark in BYU history.
In addition, JD Falslev was named to the Punt Returner Trophy watch list after tieing for 29th nationally in punt return average last season at 10.0 yards per return. A Phil Steele All-Independent First Team honoree in 2011, Falslev returned 22 punts for 220 yards on the year, including a 67-yard return for a touchdown at TCU. He was the only player from a D-I Indepedent team to be on the punt returner list.
In 2009, BYU tight end Dennis Pitta was awarded an Elite Tight End Trophy following a senior season in which he was also named a Consensus All-American. Various other Cougars have also earned weekly recognitions since the CFPA began in 2008.
According to its website, the goal of College Football Performance Awards is to provide the most scientifically rigorous conferments in college football. Recipients are selected exclusively based upon objective scientific rankings of the extent to which individual players increase the overall effectiveness of their teams.