After the first few days of camp, 6th round pick Marvin McNutt was our leader for the 2012 Na Brown award. However, a new contender has emerged.
With the news that the #1 punt returner job is now Damaris Johnson's to lose, I believe he has surged ahead of McNutt in the race for the Na. Johnson has been getting Na buzz all summer with his outstanding performances in shorts at the OTAs, he's also helped by the fact that he's an undrafted WR. But the fact that he's now even won a sorta kinda significant gig before ever even playing in a game?
I say that's enough to put him ahead. Bobby April says Johnson reminds him of another former pupil of his.
His name is [WR] Eric Guliford. Nobody may remember him, but he played for us for the Saints and it's the only time that I as a coach, we ever led the NFL in opponent net punt [average]. Now Eric is not like Damaris because he's not nearly as fast or nearly as quick, but he gets to every ball. They don't hit the ground, they don't roll. He makes good decisions. Reminds me of him more than any of the other ones for that reason. He's got a break on that ball and he's there in position. It almost doesn't matter where it's kicked."
Also worthy of noting, and this is something April pointed out, Johnson really has to make the team before getting the punt return job. Being the top PR in camp doesn't necessarily mean you're on the roster. It will help for sure... but it's no guarantee. If the #2 PR man shows that he can contribute elsewhere also, he just might be the guy that gets the roster spot.
On my Na scorecard I've got Johnson at #1, McNutt in 2nd, with Bryce Brown charging at #3.