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 Collegiate Place-Kicker Award
Announces Three Finalists
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 24th Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award. Daniel Carlson of Auburn University, Jake Elliot, University of Memphis, and Ka’imi Fairbairn of University of California Los Angeles will vie for the honor.
Carlson, a sophomore from Colorado Springs, Colorado is one of two kickers this season to successfully make 4 field goals of 51+ yards. He now holds the Auburn record of most 50+ field goals in a season, breaking a record that stood for 45 years. He started things off by connecting for a career-high 56 yard field goal in the Chick Fil-A Kickoff. He set another school record by recording 14 consecutive field goals, including two 52 yarders during that stretch. Overall, Carlson is 20 of 23 on all field goal attempts giving him a conversion rate of 87%, and has added 35 PATs for a total of 95 points.
Elliott, a junior from Western Springs, Illinois is averaging 10.7 points per game this season, for Memphis’s high rolling offense. He was crucial in Memphis’s exciting win over Bowling Green, hitting the eventual game winner to put Memphis ahead 44-41. He played a large role in the Tigers upset of then number 10 Ole Miss, going a perfect 3 for 3 on field goal attempts. On the year, Elliott is 22 of 26 on all field goal attempts giving him an 84.6% conversion rate. He added 53 PATs for a total of 119 points.
Fairbairn, a senior from Kailua, Hawaii is looking to be just the second Bruin to win the Lou Groza Award. Fairbairn kicked his way into the record books with his 4 field goal and 1 PAT performance on November 14 against Washington State. The 13 point output gave Fairbairn sole possession in Pac-12 and UCLA history as the all-time leading scorer. Later in the season, Fairbairn hit a school record 60 yard field goal, which the longest kick in the FBS since 2012. Overall, the senior kicker is 20 of 22 on all field goal attempts giving him a 91% conversion rate, and has added 41 PATS for a total of 101 points.
This year, fans can have their part in naming the winner of the Lou Groza Award. Fans can visit www.lougrozaaward.com 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 24th Annual Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Awards Banquet on Monday, December 7 at the Palm Beach County Convention 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. 24 at 6:00pm.
National College Football Awards Association
The Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA) which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. The 22 awards boast over 700 years of tradition-selection excellence. Visit www.NCFAA.org to learn more about our story.
Beginning in 2015, The Home Depot College Football Awards will have a new home at the College Football Hall of Fame and Chick-fil-A Fan Experience in downtown Atlanta. Airing live on ESPN on December 10, 2015, college football's brightest stars will be honored for their performance on and off the field.
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.
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.)