List of NCAA major college football yearly punt and kickoff return leaders

The list of NCAA major college football yearly punt and kickoff return leaders identifies the major college leaders for each season from 1939 to the present. It includes yearly leaders in four statistical categories: (1) total punt return yardage, and (2) yards per punt return, (3) total kickoff return yardage, and (4) yards per kickoff return. Prior to 1970, the NCAA determined the punt and kickoff return champions based on total yardage. Starting in 1970, the return champions were determined based on yards per return. Unless otherwise noted, return champions and yardage totals for the years 1939 to 2014 are taken from the NCAA's "Football Bowl Subdivision Records" publication.[1]

Return leaders

Key
= Winner of that year's Heisman Trophy
Bold = Figure established an NCAA major college record

Year Name PR yds Name Yds/PR Name KO yds Name Yds/KO
1939 Bosh Pritchard
(VMI)
583 Jackie Robinson
(UCLA)
20.0 Nile Kinnick
(Iowa)
377 Nile Kinnick 25.1
1940 Junie Hovious
(Ole Miss)
498 Jackie Robinson
(UCLA)
21.0 Jack Emigh
(Montana)
395 Bill Geyer
(Colgate)
27.0
1941 Bill Geyer
(Colgate)
616 Walt Slater
(Tennessee)
20.4 Earl Ray
(Wyoming)
496 Vern Lockard
(Colorado)
24.4
1942 Billy Hillenbrand
(Indiana)
481 Billy Hillenbrand
(Indiana)
20.9 Frank Porto
(California)
483 na na
1943 Marion Flanagan
(Texas A&M)
475 Otto Graham
(Northwestern)
18.4 Paul Copoulos
(Marquette)
384 Paul Copoulos 34.9
1944 Joe Stuart
(California)
372 Glenn Davis
(Army)
19.7 Paul Copoulos 337 na na
1945 Jake Leicht
(Oregon)
395 Jake Leicht 14.1 Al Dekdebrun 321 na na
1946 Harry Gilmer
(Alabama)
436 Harold Griffin
(Florida)
20.1 Forrest Hall
(San Francisco)
573 Forrest Hall 38.2
1947 Lindy Berry
(TCU)
493 Gene Derricotte
(Michigan)
24.8 Doak Walker
(SMU)
387 Skip Minisi
(Penn)
28.8
1948 Lee Nalley
(Vanderbilt)
791 George Sims
(Baylor)
25.0 Bill Gregus
(Wake Forest)
503 Jerry Williams
(Washington St.)
29.9
1949 Lee Nalley
(Vanderbilt)
498 Gene Evans
(Wisconsin)
21.8 Johnny Subda
(Nevada)
444 Billy Conn
(Georgetown)
31.1
1950 Dave Waters
(Wash. & Lee)
445 Lindy Hanson
(Boston U.)
22.5 Chuck Hill
(New Mexico)
729 Johnny Turco
(Holy Cross)
27.4
1951 Tom Murphy
(Holy Cross)
533 Bill Blackstock
(Tennessee)
25.9 Chuck Hill
(New Mexico)
504 Bob Mischak
(Army)
31.3
1952 Horton Nesrsta
(Rice)
536 Gil Reich
(Kansas)
17.2 Curly Powell
(VMI)
517 Carroll Hardy
(Colorado)
32.2
1953 Paul Giel
(Minnesota)
288 Bobby Lee
(New Mexico)
19.4 Max McGee
(Tulane)
371 Carl Bolt
(Wash. & Lee)
27.1
1954 Dicky Moegle
(Rice)
293 Dicky Moegle 19.5 Art Luppino
(Tulane)
632 George Marinkov
(No. Carolina St.)
35.8
1955 Mike Sommer
(Geo. Washington)
330 Ron Lind
(Drake)
19.5 Sam Woolwine
(VMI)
471 Jim Brown
(Syracuse)
32.0
1956 Billy Stacy
(Mississippi St.)
290 Ron Lind
(Drake)
19.1 Sam Woolwine
(VMI)
503 Paul Hornung
(Notre Dame)
31.0
1957 Bobby Mulgado
(Arizona St.)
267 Bobby Mulgado 19.1 Overton Curtis
(Utah St.)
695 Overton Curtis
(Utah St.)
30.2
1958 Howard Cook
(Colorado)
242 Herb Hallas
(Yale)
23.4 Sonny Randle
(Virginia)
506 Marshall Starks
(Illinois)
26.3
1959 Pervis Atkins
(New Mexico St.)
241 Jacque MacKinnon
(Colgate)
17.5 Don Perkins
(New Mexico)
520 Don Perkins 34.7
1960 Lance Alworth
(Arkansas)
307 Pat Fischer
(Nebraska)
21.2 Bruce Samples
(BYU)
577 Tom Hennessey
(Holy Cross)
33.4
1961 Lance Alworth
(Arkansas)
336 Tom Larscheid
(Utah St.)
23.4 Dick Mooney
(Idaho)
494 Paul Allen
(BYU)
40.1
1962 Darrell Roberts
(Utah St.)
333 Darrell Roberts 20.8 Donny Frederic
(Wake Forest)
660 Larry Coyer
(Marshall)
30.2
1963 Ken Hatfield
(Arkansas)
350 Rickie Harris
(Arizona)
17.4 Gary Wood
(Cornell)
618 Gary Wood 32.5
1964 Ken Hatfield
(Arkansas)
518 Ken Hatfield 16.7 Dan Bland
(Mississippi St.)
558 Bob Baker
(Cornell)
35.1
1965 Nick Rassas
(Notre Dame)
459 Floyd Little
(Syracuse)
23.5 Eric Crabtree
(Pittsburgh)
636 Tom Barrington
(Ohio St.)
34.3
1966 Vic Washington
(Wyoming)
443 Don Bean
(Houston)
20.2 Marcus Rhoden
(Mississippi St.)
572 Frank Moore
(Louisville)
27.9
1967 Mike Battle
(USC)
570 George Hoey
(Michigan)
24.3 Joe Casas
(New Mexico)
602 Altie Taylor
(Utah St.)
31.9
1968 Roger Wehrli
(Missouri)
478 Rob Bordley
(Princeton)
20.5 Mike Adamle
(Northwestern)
732 Kerry Reardon
(Iowa)
32.1
1969 Chris Farasopoulos
(BYU)
527 George Hannen
(Davidson)
22.4 Stan Brown
(Purdue)
698 Chris Farasopoulos
BYU
32.2
1970 Steve Holden
(Arizona St.)
19.2 Stan Brown
(Purdue)
33.6
1971 Golden Richards
(BYU)
18.9 Paul Loughran
(Temple)
33.5
1972 Randy Rhino
Georgia Tech
17.6 Larry Williams
Texas Tech
30.8
1973 Gary Hayman
(Penn St.)
19.2 Steve Odom
(Utah)
29.4
1974 John Provost
Holy Cross
18.3 Anthony Davis
(USC)
42.5
1975 Donnie Ross
(New Mexico St.)
16.1 John Schultz
(Maryland)
31.0
1976 Henry Jenkins
(Rutgers)
15.0 Ira Matthews
(Wisconsin)
29.6
1977 Robert Woods
(Grambling)
25.4 Tony Ball
(Chattanooga)
36.4
1978 Ira Matthews
Wisconsin
16.9 Drew Hill
(Georgia Tech)
30.0
1979 Jeffrey Shockley
(Tennessee St.)
16.9 Stevie Nelson
(Ball St.)
31.4
1980 Scott Woerner
Georgia
15.7 Mike Fox
(San Diego St.)
32.8
1981 Glen Young
(Mississippi St.)
16.2 Frank Minnifield
Louisville
30.4
1982 Lionel James
(Auburn)
15.8 Carl Monroe
(Utah)
30.1
1983 Jim Sandusky
(San Diego St.)
19.0 Gizmo Williams
(East Carolina)
31.1
1984 Ricky Nattiel
(Florida)
15.7 Keith Henderson
(Texas Tech)
28.9
1985 Erroll Tucker
(Utah)
24.3 Erroll Tucker 29.1
1986 Rod Smith
(Nebraska)
18.9 Terrance Roulhac
(Clemson)
33
1987 Alan Grant
(Stanford)
16.5 Barry Sanders
(Oklahoma St.)
31.6
1988 Deion Sanders
(Florida St.)
15.2 Raghib Ismail
(Notre Dame)
36.1
1989 Larry Hargrove
(Ohio)
18.2 Tony Smith
(Southern Miss.)
32.5
1990 Dave McCloughan
(Colorado)
16.4 Dale Carter
(Tennessee)
29.8
1991 Bo Campbell
(Virginia Tech)
18.2 Fred Montgomery
(New Mexico St.)
29.4
1992 Lee Gissendaner
(Northwestern)
21.8 Fred Montgomery
(New Mexico St.)
32.6
1993 Aaron Glenn
(Texas A&M)
19.9 Leeland McElroy
(Texas A&M)
39.3
1994 Steve Clay
(Eastern Mich.)
19.9 Eric Moulds
(Mississippi St.)
32.8
1995 James Dye
(BYU)
21.9 Robert Tate
(Cincinnati)
34.3
1996 Allen Rossum
(Notre Dame)
22.9 Tremain Mack
(Miami-FL)
39.5
1997 Tim Dwight
(Iowa)
19.3 Eric Booth
(Southern Miss.)
34.8
1998 David Allen
(Kansas St.)
22.1 Broderick McGrew
(North Texas)
32.6
1999 Dennis Northcutt
(Arizona)
19.0 James Williams
(Marshall)
32.9
2000 Aaron Lockett
(Kansas St.)
22.8 LaTarence Dunbar
(TCU)
33.7
2001 Roman Hollowell
(Colorado)
18.0 Chris Massey
(Oklahoma St.)
34.8
2002 Dan Sheldon
(Northern Ill.)
22.7 Charles Pauley
(San Jose St.)
31.6
2003 Skyler Green
(LSU)
18.5 Michael Waddell
(North Carolina)
J. R. Reed
(South Fla.)
31.7
2004 Ted Ginn, Jr.
(Ohio St.)
25.6 Justin Miller
(Clemson)
33.1
2005 Maurice Jones-Drew
(UCLA)
28.5 Jonathan Stewart
(Oregon)
33.7
2006 DeSean Jackson
(California)
18.2 Marcus Thigpen
(Indiana)
30.1
2007 Kevin Robinson
(Utah St.)
18.9 A. J. Jefferson
(Fresno St.)
35.8
2008 Antonio Brown
(Central Mich.)
20.5 Travis Shelton
(Temple)
31.3
2009 Greg Reid
(Florida St.)
18.4 Ray Fisher
(Indiana)
37.4
2010 Shaky Smithson
(Utah Sr.)
19.1 Nick Williams
(Connecticut)
35.3
2011 Dustin Harris
(Texas A&M)
18.2 Raheem Mostert
(Purdue)
33.5
2012 Tramaine Thompson
(Kansas St.)
19.8 Quincy McDuffie
(UCF)
34.2
2013 Ryan Switzer
(North Carolina)
20.9 Kermit Whitfield
(Florida State)
36.4
2014 Tyler Lockett
(Kansas State)
19.8 J. J. Nelson
(UAB)
38.3
2015 Christian Kirk
(Texas A&M)
24.4 Evan Berry
(Tennessee)
38.3
2016 Christian Kirk
(Texas A&M)
21.7 Kylen Towner
(Western Kentucky)
40.3
2017 Dante Pettis
(Washington)
20.4 Tony Pollard
(Memphis)
40.0

References

  1. ^ "Football Bowl Subdivision Records" (PDF). NCAA. 2015. p. 72-74.
Gene Derricotte

Eugene Derricotte (born June 14, 1926) is a former American football player who played with the University of Michigan Wolverines from 1944 to 1948. He was one of the University's first African-American athletes in the era when college football was beginning to integrate. Derricotte established school records that still stand as a punt returner for the Michigan Wolverines football team. He also established several short-lived school interceptions records. Derricotte also served as a Tuskegee Airman and later had a successful career in dentistry while continuing to serve in the military.

Ken Hatfield

Kenneth Wahl Hatfield (born June 6, 1943) is a former American football player and coach. He served as the head football coach at the United States Air Force Academy (1979–1983), the University of Arkansas (1984–1989), Clemson University (1990–1993), and Rice University (1994–2005), compiling a career college football record of 168–140–4.

Ryan Switzer

Ryan Switzer (born November 4, 1994 in Charleston, West Virginia) is an American football wide receiver and return specialist for the Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League (NFL). Switzer played college football at North Carolina and was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the fourth round (133rd overall) of the 2017 NFL Draft.

Switzer was also an offseason member of the Oakland Raiders.

NCAA major college football yearly leaders

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