During the past 20 years, many things have helped mold college football into the game that it is today. Near the top of that list is the increased importance of the kicking game.
It used to be that place-kickers were local, non-scholarship athletes who made good. Now, top high school and prep kickers are as highly recruited as some quarterbacks and wide receivers.
With national championships often won or lost on one swing of the leg, the importance of having a top kicker cannot be understated.
The Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award annually recognizes college football’s top place-kicker.
Lou Groza Award Announces Final Three
WEST PALM BEACH— The national panel of college football experts assembled by the Palm Beach County Sports Commission has selected the three finalists for the 23rd Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award. Roberto Aguayo of Florida State, Brad Craddock of Maryland, and Josh Lambert of West Virginia will vie for the honor.
Aguayo, a sophomore from Mascotte, Fla., is attempting to become just the second repeat Groza winner in history, after earning the award last season. This year, he has made 21 of his 23 field goal attempts, giving him a 91.3% conversion rate that is easily the best of the six FBS kickers with at least 20 field goals. In two seasons with Florida State, he has never missed an extra point attempt, adding 46 this year to extend his career streak to 140. His 109 points are tied for the second-most among FBS kickers, as are his three field goals from at least 50 yards.
Craddock, a junior from Adelaide, Australia, is the only kicker in the country still perfect on the season, having made all 17 of his field goal attempts and all 36 extra points. Dating back to last year, he has made 23 straight field goals, the longest active FBS streak. Ten of his makes have come from at least 40 yards, third-most in the nation, including a 57 yarder that is the season’s second-longest field goal. If he can stay perfect and add three more FGs, he would join 1996 Groza winner Marc Primanti as the only kickers in history to stay perfect on all kicks in a year with 20 field goals.
Lambert, a sophomore from Garland, Texas, is the national leader in field goals made, having connected on 24 already this season. That’s more than any kicker finished the entire regular season with last year. He leads all kickers with 4 field goals from 50 yards or more, but perhaps more impressive are his 13 from 40 or longer, one short of the all-time FBS record. His season long of 55 yards came as time expired to give West Virginia the win over Texas Tech, his second game-winning field goal of the season. He has added 37 PATs for a total of 109 points, tied for second-most among FBS kickers.
This year, fans can have their part in naming the winner of the Lou Groza Award.
Fans can visit www.lougrozaaward.com/14finalists and cast a vote for their favorite of the three finalists selected by the national panel of voters. The finalist who receives the greatest total of fan votes will be given one vote on the final ballot. One vote can make a difference in the final outcome so fans are encouraged to participate.
The three finalists will be honored at the 23rd Annual Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Awards Banquet on Tuesday, December 9 at the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach, Florida. For more information on the Lou Groza Award and the Palm Beach County Sports Commission, visit www.palmbeachsports.com.
The three Lou Groza Award finalists will be highlighted on ESPNU during The Home Depot College Football Awards Nomination Special airing Tuesday, Nov. 25 at 6:00pm
This year’s Lou Groza Award winner will be revealed on ESPN during The Home Depot College Football Awards Show airing live from the Atlantic Dance Hall at Disney’s Boardwalk at the Walt Disney World Resort on Thursday, Dec. 11 at 7:00 p.m. (ET).
The Lou Groza Award is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA) which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. The 21 awards boast 678 years of tradition-selection excellence. Visit www.NCFAA.org to learn more about our story.
About the National College Football Awards Association
The Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award (www.LouGrozaAward) is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA). The NCFAA was founded in 1997 as a coalition of the major collegiate football awards to protect, preserve and enhance the integrity, influence and prestige of the game’s predominant awards. The NCFAA encourages professionalism and the highest standards for the administration of its member awards and the selection of their candidates and recipients. For more information, visit the association’s official Web site, www.NCFAA.org.
About the Palm Beach County Sports Commission
The Palm Beach County Sports Commission is a private, not-for-profit organization contracted by Palm Beach County to promote and market the County as a sports and sports tourism destination. The Commission brings sporting events and activities to the County, enhances economic impact, stimulates bed tax revenues (primarily in the off-season), and maximizes utilization of County facilities. The Commission offers a full range of event service support, corporate partnerships, sponsorships and a local membership program that support its goals. Local, regional, national and international marketing efforts are ongoing by the Commission with sports organizations and event owners. The Commission also produces sports-related programs for the residents of Palm Beach County including the annual Lou Groza Awards program, the Sports Hall of Fame and the Kids Fitness Festival For more information on the Palm Beach County Sports Commission go to www.PalmBeachSports.com.
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To This Year's Banquet
More photos from this years banquet COMING SOON!
The video below is the announcement of the 2011 Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker winner during the Home Depot College Football Awards Show as broadcast live on national television on December 8, 2011. (Video supplied and used with permission of ESPN.)