NASHVILLE – Ryan Stonehouse quickly has made a name for himself in the NFL.
The Tennessee Titans’ rookie is the top vote-getter among AFC punters in the early stages of the Pro Bowl Games fan voting. The NFL released the first round of results Monday afternoon, and Stonehouse had 24,761 votes, which was well short of the NFC’s top punter. Johnny Hekker of Carolina (40,669 votes). Hekker is an 11-year veteran and a four-time Pro Bowler.
Only the leaders at each spot were revealed. Thus, it is unknown who is second to Stonehouse and how far back he is.
The only other Titans player currently atop the voting at his position is running back Derrick Henry, the first NFL player to top 1,000 rushing yards this season. Henry, a Pro Bowler in 2019 and 2020, has 75,754 votes. Saquon Barkley of the New York Giants leads all running backs and is fifth overall with 83,947 votes.
Stonehouse, undrafted out of Colorado State, leads the NFL with an average of 53.1 yards per punt, which is nearly two full yards than Jacksonville’s Logan Cooke, who is second with an average of 51.2. Stonehouse also is tied for third in net punting at 44.7 yards and is fifth with 23 punts inside the 20. His 74-yard punt on Nov. 13 against Denver is tied for the third longest in the league this season. He has had at least one punt of more than 50 yards in every game and at least one of more than 60 yards in seven of 11.
Stonehouse was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance against the Broncos and was AFC Special Teams Player of the Month for October after he averaged 51.7 yards per punt over four games.
An NCAA record holder, Stonehouse won the job over veteran Brett Kern, who was a three-time Pro Bowler during his 12-plus seasons with Tennessee.
Fan voting for the Pro Bowl continues at www.nfl.com/pro-bowl-games/vote through Dec. 15. Beginning Thursday, fans can also vote via Twitter by including a player’s first and last name and/or Twitter handle in addition to the hashtag #ProBowlVote.
The selection of 88 Pro Bowl players – 44 from each conference – will be determined by votes of players, coaches and fans, all three of which will count equally. Players and coaches will vote on Dec. 16.
The 2023 Pro Bowl Games, a replacement for the traditional Pro Bowl, will be a weeklong celebration in Las Vegas capped by a flag football game on Feb. 5, 2023.