Palm Beach County Sports Commission Presents

Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award

Palm Beach Sports

Watch List

 

Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award Announces 2016 Preseason Watch List

 

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – This year marks the 25th Anniversary of the Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award.  The celebration presented by the Orange Bowl Committee reconizes three finalist at a gala awards banquet in Palm Beach County on December 5th.  This year's watch list is headlined by three past finalists, 19 former semifinalists, and some of the best emerging talent in college football, it’s a highly competitive year on the thirty-player Watch List for the 2016 Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award, as announced by the Palm Beach County Sports Commission.

Last year’s winner, Ka’imi Fairbairn, is now a Houston Texan, making this the first season since 2012 that the reigning Groza winner does not return to defend the honor. But last year’s two other finalists, Auburn junior Daniel Carlson and Memphis senior Jake Elliott, are back to vie for the award once again. West Virginia senior Josh Lambert, who was a finalist in 2014, makes it three former finalists to look out for.

They are joined by 16 other kickers who have previously been named semifinalists, including Utah senior Andy Phillips who has earned the honor in each of his first three years. To put that consistency in perspective, Elliott, Cincinnati junior Andrew Gantz, and Arizona State senior Zane Gonzalez are the only other active kickers who have been semifinalists even twice.

Ten kickers return to FBS coming off seasons in which they attempted at least 15 field goals and made them at a rate of at least 85%, and all ten made the Watch List: Oregon junior Aidan Schneider (91.7), Nevada senior Brent Zuzo (89.5), UConn senior Bobby Puyol (88.9), Notre Dame sophomore Justin Yoon (88.2), Texas Tech sophomore Clayton Hatfield (87.5), North Carolina senior Nick Weiler (87.0), California junior Matt Anderson (85.7), Carlson (85.2), Phillips (85.2), and Idaho senior Austin Rehkow (85.2).

Among returning kickers who made at least 70% of their field goals, 11 kicked at least seven from 40 or more yards out, all of whom made the Watch List: Nebraska junior Drew Brown (13), Virginia Tech junior Joey Slye (13), Elliott (10), Miami (FL) junior Michael Badgley (8), Carlson (8), Phillips (8), Boise State senior Tyler Rausa (8), Rehkow (8), Gantz (7), Alabama senior Adam Griffith (7), and Minnesota junior Ryan Santoso (7).

While nearly all of the Watch List members are upperclassmen, four sophomores earned their way on after stellar freshman years, including Clemson’s Greg Huegel, who led the nation in field goals (27) and points (138). Huegel is joined by Hatfield, Oklahoma’s Austin Seibert, and Yoon.

While the Watch List highlights thirty of the best returning kickers in the country, the Groza Committee will be watching all FBS kickers during the season, and releasing a weekly “Stars of the Week” feature on www.lougrozaaward.com. All FBS kickers remain eligible to be selected as semifinalists.

Accomplishments are tabulated throughout the season and the Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award will announce its 20 semifinalists on Thursday, November 3rd. From this list, a panel of more than 100 FBS head coaches, SIDs, media members, former Groza finalists, and current NFL kickers selects the top three finalists for the award by Tuesday, November 22nd. That same group then selects the national winner, who will be announced on Thursday, December 8th during the Home Depot College Football Awards Show.

The Award is named for National Football League Hall of Fame kicker Lou “The Toe” Groza, who played 21 seasons with the Cleveland Browns. Groza won four NFL championships with Cleveland and was named NFL Player of the Year in 1954. Although an All-Pro offensive lineman as well, Groza ushered in the notion that there should be a place on an NFL roster for a kicker.

For more information on the Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award and to see the “Stars of the Week” throughout the season, please go to www.lougrozaaward.com. For even more updates on the best kicking performances throughout the season, follow @LouGrozaAward on Twitter.

 

 

National College Football Awards Association

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 22 awards boast 722 years of tradition-selection excellence. Visit www.NCFAA.org to learn more about our story.

The members of the NCFAA are unveiling their preseason watch lists over a 12-day period this month. Seventeen of the association’s 22 awards select a preseason watch list and the NCFAA has spearheaded a coordinated effort to promote each award’s preseason candidates.

 

Following is the complete 2016 preseason watch list calendar:

 

Tues., July 5:           Bednarik Award / Maxwell Award

Wed., July 6:           Mackey Award / Rimington Trophy

Thurs., July 7:          Lou Groza Award / Ray Guy Award

Fri., July 8:               Bronko Nagurski Trophy / Outland Trophy

Mon., July 11:          Jim Thorpe Award

Tues., July 12:         Butkus Award / Rotary Lombardi Award

Weds., July 13:        Biletnikoff Award / Wuerffel Trophy

Thurs., July 14:        Davey O’Brien Award / Doak Walker Award

Fri., July 15:             Walter Camp Award / Paul Hornung Award

 

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 Award program, the Palm Beach County Sports Hall of Fame, the Kids Fitness Festival of the Palm Beaches and the annual Sam Budnyk Student-Athlete Scholarship. For more information on the Palm Beach County Sports Commission, go to www.palmbeachsports.com 
 

 

Who is your favorite Lou Groza Watch List Athlete?
 
pollcode.com free polls

 

 

Matt Anderson – California

Class: Junior - Hometown: Danville, California

 

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

18

21

85.7

0-0

10-10

5-6

3-5

0-0

48

50

52

104

 

 

Anderson finished the season on a remarkable hot streak, making his last 12 field goal attempts and kicking multiple field goals in each of the final five games of the year. That includes the regular season finale, when his 26 yarder as time expired lifted the Golden Bears to a 48-46 win over Arizona State, completing Cal’s biggest comeback since 2007.

Michael Badgley – Miami (FL)

Class: Junior - Hometown: Summit, New Jersey

 

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

25

30

83.3

0-0

13-14

4-6

7-7

1-3

57

40

40

115

 

 

A 2015 Groza semifinalist, Badgley set or matched multiple school records, most notably breaking the Miami mark for field goals in a season with 25. He twice matched the school record with 5-for-5 performances, including against Nebraska where his 5th was an overtime game-winner. His 57 yard kick against Pitt matched another Canes record and was the longest by any returning FBS kicker.

Jonathan Barnes – Louisiana Tech

Class: Junior - Hometown: Baton Rouge, Louisiana

 

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

22

26

84.6

2-2

7-7

7-9

4-6

2-2

50

60

60

126

 

 

A 2015 Groza semifinalist, Barnes capped a terrific season with his best game of the year in the New Orleans Bowl, scoring 17 points on a 4-for-4 FG performance that included his second 50 yard kick. That makes him one of just nine returning FBS kickers who made at least two field goals from long distance last year.

Drew Brown – Nebraska

Class: Junior - Hometown: Southlake, Texas

 

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

21

27

77.8

0-0

6-7

2-3

12-14

1-3

50

44

46

107

 

 

Brown’s 13 field goals from at least 40 yards are tied for the most by any returning FBS kicker. Nine of those kicks came during his season-ending streak of 11 straight made field goals. Against Southern Miss, he tied the NCAA record with 5 FGs in the first half. He is the first player in Nebraska history to score 100 points in both his freshman and sophomore seasons.

Daniel Carlson – Auburn

Class: Junior - Hometown: Colorado Springs, Colorado

 

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

23

27

85.2

0-0

8-10

7-7

4-5

4-5

56

40

40

109

 

 

A finalist for the 2015 Lou Groza Award, Carlson’s four field goals from at least 50 yards are the most by any returning FBS kicker. That mark also set Auburn’s school record for kicks from long distance. Amidst his 23-FG season was a streak of 16 consecutive makes, another all-time Auburn record. He has made all 97 extra point attempts in his college career.

Trent Domingue – LSU

Class: Senior - Hometown: Mandeville, Louisiana

 

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

13

17

76.5

0-0

4-6

6-6

3-4

0-1

45

49

50

88

 

 

A 2015 Groza semifinalist, Domingue didn’t miss a field goal attempt until late November, opening the season with ten straight FGs as he made the most of his few opportunities. In fact, LSU was so busy scoring touchdowns that they even pulled the kicker into the fold, calling Domingue’s number on a 16-yard fake that gave the Tigers a 35-28 win over Florida.

Jake Elliott – Memphis

Class: Senior - Hometown: Western Springs, Illinois

 

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

23

28

82.1

0-0

6-6

7-11

8-9

2-2

53

63

63

132

 

 

A finalist for the 2015 Lou Groza Award and a semifinalist as a freshman in 2013, Elliott enters the year with his eyes on both the Groza and the Memphis record books. He needs just 10 FGs and 45 points to match the Memphis career records held by Stephen Gostkowski, who now holds those same records for the New England Patriots.

Elliott Fry – South Carolina

Class: Senior - Hometown: Frisco, Texas

 

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

20

28

71.4

1-1

9-9

4-5

4-8

2-5

52

25

25

85

 

 

A Groza semifinalist in 2014, Fry has been a starter since Day 1 at South Carolina and already owns the school’s career records for PATs, including a still-active 124 straight. He needs just 41 more points to become the all-time leading scorer in South Carolina history. One of nine returning FBS kickers who made at least two field goals from 50+ yards last year.

Andrew Gantz – Cincinnati

Class: Junior - Hometown: Dayton, Ohio

 

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

21

27

77.8

0-0

8-10

6-6

5-6

2-5

51

49

50

112

 

 

A Groza semifinalist in both 2015 and 2014, Gantz has topped 100 points in each of his first two seasons. He kicked multiple field goals in seven different games. In the regular season finale, he hit from 50 (making him one of the nine FBS kickers with at least two FGs from 50+ last year) and then a 42 yard game-winner as time expired to beat East Carolina.

Zane Gonzalez – Arizona State

Class: Senior - Hometown: Deer Park, Texas

 

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

26

34

76.5

1-1

14-16

7-7

4-7

0-3

48

52

52

130

 

 

A Groza semifinalist in 2014 and 2013, Gonzalez enters the 2016 season as the NCAA active leader in field goals per game (1.87) and scoring per game (9.9 points). His 26 made field goals last year are the second-most by a returning FBS kicker, giving him an FBS-best 73 over the past three seasons. 2013 Groza winner and NFL draftee Roberto Aguayo is the only other FBS kicker with at least 20 field goals in each of the past three seasons.

Adam Griffith – Alabama

Class: Senior - Hometown: Calhoun, Georgia

 

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

23

32

71.9

1-1

10-13

5-7

5-9

2-2

55

62

62

131

 

 

Griffith’s 23 field goals are tied for 6th most by returning FBS kickers. A record-setting five of those came against rival Auburn, the most field goals ever in an Iron Bowl matchup. He added two PATs in that game to score 17 points, the second-highest single-game total in Alabama history.

Ben Grogan – Oklahoma State

Class: Senior - Hometown: Arlington, Texas

 

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

16

20

80.0

0-0

7-9

5-5

4-6

0-0

43

61

64

109

 

 

A Groza semifinalist in 2014, Grogan kicked back-to-back game-winners to give the Cowboys wins over Texas and Kansas State. Against the Longhorns, he kicked two field goals in the last 93 seconds, first to tie from 41 yards out, and then a 40-yarder with six seconds left to win. The next week, his 37-yarder with 32 seconds left gave Oklahoma State a 36-34 win.

Clayton Hatfield – Texas Tech

Class: Sophomore - Hometown: Boerne, Texas

 

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

14

16

87.5

0-0

5-5

6-6

2-3

1-2

51

53

54

95

 

 

As a redshirt freshman, Hatfield didn’t earn the full-time kicking job until nearly halfway through the year, but he kicked 11 field goals over the final six games of the regular season. His 87.5 percent accuracy rate is the fifth highest by any returning FBS kicker who made double-digit field goals last year.

Greg Huegel – Clemson

Class: Sophomore - Hometown: Blythewood, South Carolina

 

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

27

32

84.4

0-0

7-7

14-15

6-10

0-0

47

57

62

138

 

 

Huegel led the nation in field goals made and kick-scoring, while playing an integral part in Clemson’s road to CFP National Championship Game. Making the feats even more impressive: he was a freshman who walked on to the team in August. He scored double-digits in 8 games and his 138 points are now Clemson’s all-time single-season record.

Josh Lambert – West Virginia

Class: Senior - Hometown: Garland, Texas

 

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

21

28

75.0

2-2

9-9

6-8

3-6

1-3

51

53

54

116

 

 

A finalist for the Groza in 2014, Lambert led the Mountaineers in scoring each of the three previous seasons, and now needs just 48 more points to become West Virginia’s all-time career scoring leader. He made at least one field goal in all but one game last season, notching four 3-FG performances including a 43-42 Cactus Bowl win over Arizona State.

Cole Murphy – Syracuse

Class: Junior - Hometown: Castaic, California

 

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

16

22

72.7

1-1

6-6

6-8

3-6

0-1

49

37

37

85

 

 

A Groza semifinalist in 2014, Murphy capped off Syracuse’s season with a dramatic victory, kicking a 35-yard field goal as time expired to lift the Orange to a 20-17 win over Boston College and snap an eight-game losing streak. He made field goals in all but one game last season, and after just two years already ranks in the top ten on Syracuse’s career FG list.

Griffin Oakes – Indiana

Class: Junior - Hometown: Greenwood, Indiana

 

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

24

29

82.8

1-1

8-8

9-11

5-7

1-2

51

53

57

125

 

 

Oakes became the first Indiana kicker to win the Big Ten Conference’s Kicker of the Year Award, following a breakthrough season. His 24 field goals are fifth among returning FBS kickers and set the Indiana single-season record. His 125 points are the most by an Indiana kicker in a single season, hitting double-digits in seven games last year.

Andy Phillips – Utah

Class: Senior - Hometown: Draper, Utah

 

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

23

27

85.2

0-0

3-3

12-12

7-11

1-1

53

47

47

116

 

 

Having been a Groza semifinalist in 2015, 2014 and 2013, Phillips looks to achieve the ultimate in consistency: be named a semifinalist in all four years of a career. Last year, he was perfect within 45 yards, and was the only kicker in the top ten for total field goals to stay perfect within 40 yards. He is already Utah’s all-time career leader in both field goals and points.

Bobby Puyol – UConn

Class: Senior - Hometown: North Palm Beach, Florida

 

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

16

18

88.9

1-1

6-6

5-6

3-4

1-1

52

21

24

69

 

 

A 2015 Groza semifinalist, Puyol led the American in field goal percentage last year. His 88.9% mark is the third-highest by any returning FBS kicker who made double-digit field goals last year. He went 3-for-3 on field goals in a five-point win over Army, and set a St. Petersburg Bowl record with his career-long 52-yard field goal.

Tyler Rausa – Boise State

Class: Senior - Hometown: Murrieta, California

 

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

25

30

83.3

0-0

8-9

9-9

7-8

1-4

51

59

61

134

 

 

A 2015 Groza semifinalist, Rausa finished tied for fourth in field goals made last year, setting the Boise State single-season record with 25. He made field goals in every game, with multiple kicks in nine games including a 4-FG performance. His 134 points set a new Mountain West Conference record for kick-scoring in a single season.

Austin Rehkow – Idaho

Class: Senior - Hometown: Spokane, Washington

 

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

23

27

85.2

3-3

6-6

6-8

8-9

0-1

48

39

40

108

 

 

A 2015 Groza semifinalist, Rehkow was arguably the top overall specialist, the only player in FBS to rank in the top-ten in both field goals and punting average. His 23 field goals set a new Idaho single-season record, while his 108 points led all Sun Belt players in scoring regardless of position.

Ryan Santoso – Minnesota

Class: Junior - Hometown: Pace, Florida

 

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

17

21

81.0

1-1

4-4

5-5

6-8

1-3

50

31

31

82

 

 

A 2015 Groza semifinalist, Santoso was vital to a Minnesota team whose first three games were each decided by three points. That includes a 23-20 win over Colorado State in which he provided all of the Golden Gophers’ first half points and then kicked the winner in overtime. He was perfect on all of his kicks within 44 yards.

Aidan Schneider – Oregon

Class: Junior - Hometown: Portland, Oregon

 

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

22

24

91.7

1-1

8-8

7-9

6-6

0-0

47

67

67

133

 

 

Schneider doubled his made field goals from 11 to 22, but his accuracy stuck at 91.7% for the second straight year, making him the only FBS kicker to convert at least 20 attempts at a rate better than 90 percent. His 67 perfect extra points tied for the second-most among kickers without a miss last year.

Austin Seibert – Oklahoma

Class: Sophomore - Hometown: Belleville, Illinois

 

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

18

23

78.3

1-1

5-5

7-11

5-6

0-0

46

70

72

124

 

 

Seibert set an Oklahoma freshman record by converting his first ten field goal attempts without a miss. He made field goals in all but one game, scoring double-digit points in eight contests. At 9.5 points per game, he ranked eighth among FBS kickers last year, topping the Big 12 Conference.

Joey Slye – Virginia Tech

Class: Junior - Hometown: Stafford, Virginia

 

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

23

30

76.7

0-0

2-2

8-9

13-16

0-3

48

41

42

110

 

 

A 2015 Groza semifinalist, Slye tied the Virginia Tech single-season record with his 23 made field goals. He closed with 15 field goals over the final six games of the season. That stretch included a 4-for-4 performance in a win over Boston College, going 3-for-3 in a 23-20 win over Virginia, and making both attempts in a 55-52 Independence Bowl victory. His 13 field goals from at least 40 yards tied for the most in FBS.

Nick Smith – Marshall

Class: Junior  - Hometown: Plain City, Ohio

 

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

18

25

72.0

0-0

2-2

15-18

1-5

0-0

42

48

48

102

 

 

A 2015 Groza semifinalist, Smith made his first 12 field goal attempts last year, making it all the way to Halloween before he missed a kick. He made his living between 30 and 39 yards, tying for the FBS lead in field goals from that distance, and not attempting anything from within 30 yards during the regular season.

Cameron Van Winkle – Washington

Class: Senior - Hometown: Fall City, Washington

 

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

16

20

80.0

0-0

6-6

4-6

6-8

0-0

49

49

49

97

 

 

After two seasons as Washington’s starting kicker, Van Winkle currently sits atop the school’s record books for career field goal percentage. He put together a pair of 3-for-3 FG performances last year, including his best game of the season in the Heart of Dallas Bowl, where he scored a season-best 14 points in Washington’s 44-31 win.

Nick Weiler – North Carolina

Class: Senior - Hometown: Fairfax Station, Virginia

 

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

20

23

87.0

0-0

5-5

11-12

4-6

0-0

48

67

67

127

 

 

A 2015 Groza semifinalist, Weiler set UNC’s all-time single-season scoring mark during an impressive year across the board. Among returning FBS kickers who made at least 20 field goals last year, his 87% accuracy rate is second-best. His 67 extra points, a UNC single-season record, are tied for second among returning FBS kickers who were perfect on PATs.

Justin Yoon – Notre Dame

Class: Sophomore - Hometown: Nashville, Tennessee

 

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

15

17

88.2

0-0

5-5

7-8

2-3

1-1

52

50

52

95

 

 

Yoon made his mark on one of football’s most storied programs, setting the Notre Dame all-time record for points by a freshman. His 88.2% field goal accuracy was the national best by a freshman, and ranks fourth among all returning FBS kickers with double-digit field goals. His 52 yarder against Navy was the nation’s longest by a freshman kicker.

Brent Zuzo – Nevada

Class: Senior - Hometown: Canton, Michigan

 

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

17

19

89.5

1-1

8-8

4-4

4-4

0-2

47

38

40

89

 

 

Among returning FBS kickers with double-digit field goals, Zuzo is the only one who didn’t miss a kick within 50 yards last season. Even with his two long misses, his 89.5% accuracy rate is second-best among returning kickers. He had a trio of 3-for-3 FG performances, the last proving pivotal to Nevada’s 28-23 Arizona Bowl victory.

 

 

 

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