Chicago, Ill. - One of the biggest assets to the Northeast Mississippi Community College football program during its 2018 campaign is officially being recognized among the nation's finest performers.
Michael Baugus was named to the watch list for the Fred Mitchell Award, which is given to the top place-kicker in the country at all levels of college football with the exception of the NCAA's Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS).
"Michael possesses all the available traits that is needed for a great kicker," said Tigers head coach Greg Davis. "He has consistency, optimism, perseverance and commitment. He did a great job for our program and we are excited about his future with our team."
Baugus was the only student-athlete from the National Junior College Athletic Association's (NJCAA) 65 members that sponsor the sport of football to receive this prestigious accolade.
"I've worked hard throughout high school and this year especially," Baugus said. "Growing up going to camps, I've seen a lot of guys that are really, really good at kicking. It's cool to be up there with some of them. I'm just thankful for everything."
Baugus recently completed a busy freshman year on the Booneville campus. His duties with the Tigers as part of their special teams unit included kickoffs, punts, extra points and field goals.
The Corinth native was one of only six players nationally and the lone man in the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) to achieve a 100-percent success rate on extra points with a minimum of 10 attempts.
Baugus was a perfect 17 of 17 on his point after tries. He also finished the regular season in a tie with Jones College's Cristofer Thompson for the most field goals in the MACJC with six.
He made field goals in four consecutive games beginning on September 13 during the Tigers' victory over Coahoma Community College and ending during the annual homecoming matchup against Mississippi Delta Community College.
The 6-2, 145-pounder made multiple field goals during back-to-back contests versus Holmes Community College and Coahoma. He drilled a career-long 39-yard during Northeast's week four matchup at Holmes.
Baugus led the MACJC in net punting yards with 1,800 on the dot in 49 attempts, which resulted in a season average of 36.7 yards per boot. Nine of his punts were fair caught, which tied for second most in the conference.
He was selected as the MACJC Special Teams Player of the Week after averaging 43.1 yards each punt, including a career-long 67-yard effort, during the Tigers' rivalry game at Northwest Mississippi Community College.
Baugus landed 14 punts inside the 20-yard line, which was second highest in the state and tied for 10th in the country. He also teed off on 21 kickoffs throughout the campaign and totaled 886 yards.
The Fred Mitchell Award acknowledged 26 place-kickers on its latest watch list, including seven in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), eight from NCAA Division II, nine in NCAA Division III, one from the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and Baugus in the NJCAA.
Baugus was the only athlete from the Magnolia State and one of just three freshmen from all five eligible levels of collegiate football to earn this distinction. The recipient of the Fred Mitchell Award is determined in mid-December.