Palm Beach County Sports Commission Presents

Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award

Palm Beach Sports

Watch List

Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award

Announces 2019 Preseason Watch List

 

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Looking to become just the second repeat winner in history, Syracuse sophomore Andre Szmyt headlines the thirty-player Watch List for the 2019 Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award, as announced by the Palm Beach County Sports Commission.

Szmyt, just the third freshman to ever win the Groza, became the second kicker in FBS history to lead all players in points per game. If he defends his title, he would join former Florida State kicker Sebastian Janikowski (1998 & 1999) as the only players to win multiple Grozas. He is joined on the Watch List by two former finalists in Wyoming senior Cooper Rothe and Utah State senior Dominik Eberle, as well as ten other past semifinalists.

Among the players on the Watch List are all 11 returning FBS kickers who made at least 19 field goals last season: Szmyt (30), Missouri senior Tucker McCann (24), NC State sophomore Christopher Dunn (23), Eberle (22), Ole Miss junior Luke Logan (22), Texas A&M sophomore Seth Small (20), Georgia Southern senior Tyler Bass (19), Georgia senior Rodrigo Blankenship (19), Arkansas senior Connor Limpert (19), Wake Forest sophomore Nick Sciba (19), and East Carolina senior Jake Verity (19).

Among returning kickers who made more than 10 field goals, only nine connected at a rate of at least 86%, and all of them found their way to the Watch List: Rothe (94.1), Stanford senior Jet Toner (93.3), Bass (90.5), Verity (90.5), Florida sophomore Evan McPherson (89.5), Dunn (88.5), Szmyt (88.2), Kansas State junior Blake Lynch (87.5), and Sciba (86.4).

Moving from accuracy to distance, the Watch List also encompasses the only nine returning kickers who made eight or more field goals from at least 40 yards out: Bass (10), Eberle (9), West Virginia junior Evan Staley (9), Blankenship (8), Charlotte sophomore Jonathan Cruz (8), Texas sophomore Cameron Dicker (8), Pittsburgh junior Alex Kessman (8), McCann (8), and Troy junior Tyler Sumpter (8).

While the Watch List highlights 30 of the best returning kickers in the country, Szmyt, who as a freshman was thus not on last year’s Watch List, stands as proof that the Groza Committee will be watching all FBS kickers throughout 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 7th. 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, announced on Tuesday, November 26th. That same group then selects the national winner, who will be announced on Thursday, December 12th during the Home Depot College Football Awards Show on ESPN.

The 28th Annual Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award, presented by the Orange Bowl, recognizes the three finalists during a celebration in Palm Beach County, culminating with a gala awards banquet at West Palm Beach’s Kravis Center for the Performing Arts on December 9th

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. Founded in 1997, the NCFAA and its 25 awards now boast over 800 recipients, dating to 1935. Visit ncfaa.org to learn more about the association.

The members of the NCFAA are unveiling their preseason watch lists over a 10-day period this month. Sixteen of the association’s 25 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 2019 preseason watch list calendar:

 

Mon., July 15:         Bednarik Award / Maxwell Award

Tues., July 16:         Davey O’Brien Award

Weds., July 17:        Doak Walker Award

Thurs., July 18:        Biletnikoff Award

Fri., July 19:             John Mackey Award / Rimington Trophy

Mon., July 22:         Butkus Award / Paycom Jim Thorpe Award

Tues., July 23:         Bronko Nagurski Trophy / Outland Trophy

Weds., July 24:        Lou Groza Award / Ray Guy Award

Thurs., July 25:        Paul Hornung Award / Wuerffel Trophy

Fri., July 26:             Walter Camp 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 and the Kids Fitness Festival of the Palm Beaches. For more information on the Palm Beach County Sports Commission, go to www.palmbeachsports.com.

 

Who is your favorite "Watch List" Kicker?
 
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*This poll does not count towards actual winner of the award

 

Tyler Bass – Georgia Southern

Class: Senior - Hometown: Irmo, South Carolina

 

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

19

21

90.5

1-1

4-5

4-4

8-8

2-3

50

45

45

102

 

 

A 2018 Groza semifinalist, Bass saved his best performance for last, hitting a 50-yard field goal as the Camellia Bowl went to halftime and then hitting a 40-yard winner as time expired in the Eagles’ 23-21 victory. His 19 field goals tied the school record for most in a season, while his 90.5% accuracy rate tied for 4th best in FBS among qualified kickers.

Massimo Biscardi – Coastal Carolina

Class: Sophomore - Hometown: Downingtown, Pennsylvania

 

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

13

16

81.3

0-0

5-5

5-6

2-3

1-2

50

33

36

72

 

 

A 2018 Groza semifinalist, Biscardi set a school record for the best start to a placekicking career, making his first eight attempts. That run included becoming the first true freshman in school history to make three kicks in a game, in his college debut on the road at South Carolina. He also his three at Georgia State, including the winner in a 37-34 victory.

Rodrigo Blankenship – Georgia

Class: Senior - Hometown: Marietta, Georgia

 

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

19

23

82.6

1-1

8-8

2-4

7-9

1-1

53

65

65

122

 

 

A Groza semifinalist in both 2018 and 2017, Blankenship enters his senior season on track to set numerous school records at Georgia. A third 100-point season would make him the Bulldogs’ all-time leading scorer, while his current 82.8% field goal rate would make him Georgia’s most accurate career kicker ever.

Jose Borregales – FIU

Class: Junior - Hometown: Miami, Florida

 

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

14

19

73.7

0-0

6-7

3-5

4-6

1-1

53

54

55

96

 

 

A 2018 Groza semifinalist, Borregales has starred in each of his first two seasons. Among returning kickers with two years of play, his 181 points rank fifth in FBS. The total also ranks third on the FIU career list already. He went 3-for-3 including a season-long 53-yard FG in a 24-21 conference win over Middle Tennessee.

Matt Coghlin – Michigan State

Class: Junior - Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio

 

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

18

22

81.8

0-0

5-5

9-10

4-5

0-2

49

25

25

79

 

 

A 2018 Groza semifinalist, Coghlin currently stands atop the Michigan State career leaderboard for field goal accuracy. Among returning FBS kickers who connected at better than 80% only seven kickers topped his 18 field goals. Spread over two seasons, he holds the Spartan record for consecutive field goals, making 18 straight from 11/4/17 to 10/27/18.

Jonathan Cruz – Charlotte

Class: Sophomore - Hometown: Cartersville, Georgia

 

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

17

22

77.3

0-0

2-3

7-9

5-6

3-4

56

27

27

78

 

 

More than half of Charlotte’s victories last season came by three points or less, and Cruz went 6-for-6 in those games. That includes the final game of the season, when his 56-yard field goal came in the final minute of a 27-24 win over FAU. That kick was the second-longest field goal in FBS last season.

Cameron Dicker – Texas

Class: Sophomore - Hometown: Austin, Texas

 

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

18

25

72

0-0

4-5

6-7

7-11

1-2

52

51

52

105

 

 

No game matters more to Texas than the Red River Rivalry against Oklahoma, and no one mattered more to Texas this year than Dicker, whose 40 yarder with nine seconds left gave the Longhorns a 48-45 win. His 18 field goals and 105 points are both Texas records for a freshman.

Christopher Dunn – NC State

Class: Sophomore - Hometown: Lexington, North Carolina

 

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

23

26

88.5

0-1

15-15

5-6

3-4

0-0

49

51

51

120

 

 

Dunn’s 23 field goals didn’t just double the NC State freshman record, they topped even Marc Primanti’s Groza Award-winning 1996 season to set a new mark for all Wolfpack kickers. He’s one of just six returning kickers who made at least 20 field goals, and his 88.5% rate is the best of that bunch, including reigning Groza winner Andre Szmyt.

Dominik Eberle – Utah State

Class: Senior - Hometown: Nuremberg, Germany

 

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

22

28

78.6

1-1

8-10

4-5

6-7

3-5

51

75

75

141

 

 

A finalist for the Groza in 2017 and a semifinalist last year, Eberle has established himself as one of college football’s very best kickers. Against New Mexico State, he put together arguably 2018’s single best game by a kicker, going 6-for-6 on field goals, including an NCAA record-tying three from over 50 yards, just the 6th kicker to ever achieve that mark.

Logan Justus – Indiana

Class: Senior - Hometown: McCordsville, Indiana

 

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

15

18

83.3

0-0

4-4

7-7

4-6

0-1

44

32

33

77

 

 

A 2018 Groza semifinalist, Justus performed admirably in his first season of play for the Hoosiers. Among returning FBS kickers, only seven kicked more field goals while connecting at a better rate than his 83.3%. His 42-yard field goal with 2:32 left in the game lifted Indiana to a 34-32 victory over Maryland.  

Alex Kessman – Pittsburgh

Class: Junior - Hometown: Clarkston, Michigan

 

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

13

17

76.5

0-0

3-3

2-4

4-5

4-5

55

40

43

79

 

 

Despite only two seasons under his belt, Kessman enters the season as the FBS active leader in long-range field goals with six. Four of those came last season, the most of any kicker who returns this year. Two of those bombs came against Syracuse, but it was his 45 yarder that sent the game to overtime and set up Pitt’s comeback victory.

Connor Limpert – Arkansas

Class: Senior - Hometown: Allen, Texas

 

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

19

24

79.2

0-0

5-5

9-10

3-6

2-3

55

29

29

86

 

 

A 2018 Groza semifinalist, Limpert made a field goal in every game last season, an important weapon for an Arkansas team that trailed the SEC in scoring. In the heart of the season, he connected on 10 straight attempts, including a 4-for-4 performance against Ole Miss. It was the first time a Razorback hit that mark since 2007.

Luke Logan – Ole Miss

Class: Junior - Hometown: Hattiesburg, Mississippi

 

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

22

27

81.5

1-1

9-11

11-12

1-3

0-0

40

45

46

111

 

 

Logan combined quantity and quality like few other kickers last season. Among kickers returning to FBS this year, he is one of only three who made at least 20 field goals at a rate better than 80%. The scoring came in bunches, with five games of at least 3 field goals, including a 4-for-4 game against Texas Tech and a 5-for-5 showcase against Vanderbilt.

Blake Lynch – Kansas State

Class: Junior - Hometown: Goddard, Kansas

 

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

14

16

87.5

0-0

6-6

5-5

3-3

0-2

44

19

20

61

 

 

Although injury limited him to just 9 games, Lynch made the most of season. He went 4-for-4 in both the season opener against South Dakota and in a late November win over Texas Tech. That makes him just the third kicker in Kansas State history with multiple 4-for-4 games in one season, joining Groza winner Martin Gramatica and finalist Jamie Rheem.

Tucker McCann – Missouri

Class: Senior - Hometown: O’Fallon, Illinois

 

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

24

33

72.7

0-0

8-9

8-10

6-11

2-3

57

51

54

123

 

 

The longest field goal in FBS last season came off the foot of McCann, a 57-yard boot that also marked his school record-tying fifth make of the game. That topped his 4-for-4 performance on the road against Purdue, with a much shorter kick – 25 yards – coming as time expired to lift the Tigers to a 40-37 victory.  

Evan McPherson – Florida

Class: Sophomore - Hometown: Fort Payne, Alabama

 

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

17

19

89.5

0-0

11-11

3-4

3-4

0-0

48

50

50

101

 

 

A 2018 Groza semifinalist, McPherson led all qualifying FBS freshmen with his 89.5% field goal accuracy. In fact, among all FBS kickers, regardless of class, only two kicked more field goals while connecting at a better rate. Posting double-digit points in five games, his 101 total for the season led the Gators in scoring.

Ryan Meskell – Hawaii

Class: Senior - Hometown: Gold Coast, Australia

 

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

15

18

83.3

0-0

5-5

7-8

3-4

0-1

43

46

47

91

 

 

Having previously served as Hawaii’s kickoff specialist, Meskell stepped up as the team’s primary placekicker last season and put together one of the top campaigns in the country. Only seven returning kickers made more FGs and posted higher accuracy rates. On the road against San Jose State, his field goals sent the game to a 5th overtime and then won it.

Riley Patterson – Memphis

Class: Junior - Hometown: Edwardsville, Illinois

 

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

15

20

75

1-1

6-7

3-4

4-6

1-2

52

76

79

121

 

 

After just two seasons, Patterson is already 10th in career scoring among active FBS kickers, with only one other junior topping his 217 points. Last year’s 121 fell just outside the top ten in scoring by all players, regardless of position. With just 46 more points, he would move into 3rd in Memphis history, behind Super Bowl champions Jake Elliott and Stephen Gostkowski, and just ahead of Joe Allison, who won the very first Lou Groza Award in 1992.

Cooper Rothe – Wyoming

Class: Senior - Hometown: Longmont, Colorado

 

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

16

17

94.1

0-0

5-5

6-6

4-5

1-1

51

28

28

76

 

 

A finalist for the 2018 Lou Groza Award, Rothe has been the most accurate kicker in the nation over the last two seasons. He was the only kicker with more than 15 attempts last season to miss just one kick, which came in 30mph winds and broke what had been the nation’s longest FG streak at 18 straight makes.

Brandon Ruiz – Arizona State

Class: Junior - Hometown: Gilbert, Arizona

 

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

18

22

81.8

0-0

8-8

6-7

4-5

0-2

49

45

45

99

 

 

Over his first two seasons at Arizona State, Ruiz has kicked 37 field goals, a total topped by only one other FBS kicker entering his third season and putting him in the top ten among all active kickers. He went 3-for-3 against a then-#15 Michigan State team, including a 28 yarder as time expired to give the Sun Devils a 16-13 upset win.

Nick Sciba – Wake Forest

Class: Sophomore - Hometown: Clover, South Carolina

 

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

19

22

86.4

0-0

8-9

9-11

2-2

0-0

49

50

50

107

 

 

No freshman in Wake Forest history has put more points on the board than Sciba. His 19 field goals are tied for 7th among returning FBS kickers. He enters the season on a current streak of making his last 11 field goal attempts, most recently his crucial 3-for-3 performance in the Demon Deacons’ 37-34 Birmingham Bowl win over Memphis.

Seth Small – Texas A&M

Class: Sophomore - Hometown: Katy, Texas

 

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

20

28

71.4

0-0

5-5

10-14

3-6

2-3

52

40

40

100

 

 

One of just six returning kickers to make at least 20 field goals last year, Small came up big against some of the toughest competition in the country. In just his second ever game, he went 3-for-3 with a 52 yarder on the road at #1 Alabama. At South Carolina, he hit 4 FGs to lead the Aggies to a 26-23 win. And in the most thrilling game of the year, he went 3-for-3 in the seven-overtime classic 74-72 win over LSU.

Evan Staley – West Virginia

Class: Junior - Hometown: Romney, West Virginia

 

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

16

20

80

0-0

3-3

4-4

9-11

0-2

49

59

60

107

 

 

Staley’s nine field goals from 40-49.yards were the most in FBS last season. Two of those came on the road against then-#17 Texas, part of a 10-point day that set the stage for the Mountaineers’ 42-41 victory. He ended the season with his best game of the year, going 4-for-4 in the Camping World Bowl, the most field goals in the game’s 30-year history.

Tyler Sumpter – Troy

Class: Junior - Hometown: Hoover, Alabama

 

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

18

24

75

0-0

6-6

4-7

7-10

1-1

50

45

45

99

 

 

Though his punting garnered the headlines – he became the first FBS player since 2015 with two 70-yard punts in one game – Sumpter proved just as adept at placekicking. He scored every point in the Trojans’ 12-7 win over Texas State, going 4-for-4 for the second time in a three-game span. His 18 field goals were just one shy of the school record. 

Andre Szmyt – Syracuse

Class: Sophomore - Hometown: Vernon Hills, Illinois

 

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

30

34

88.2

1-1

10-11

12-12

4-7

3-3

54

61

61

151

 

 

The 2018 Lou Groza Award winner, Szmyt became just the fifth kicker in FBS history to make at least 30 field goals in a season. He’s only the second kicker in FBS history to lead all players in points-per-game. He made multiple FGs in each of the first 10 games of the season, culminating in a 4-for-4, 18-point performance against Louisville.

Ryan Tice – Central Michigan

Class: Senior - Hometown: Saline, Michigan

 

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

10

12

83.3

0-0

3-4

0-0

6-7

1-1

53

14

15

44

 

 

A 2018 Groza semifinalist, Tice put up some of the best numbers of the season’s first half before a quiet end to the year. All ten of his field goals came in the season’s first seven games, including a standout performance against Ball State. In that game, he went 3-for-3 with a 53 yarder to start the scoring and a 47 yarder in the fourth quarter to give CMU a lead.

Jet Toner – Stanford

Class: Senior - Hometown: Honolulu, Hawaii

 

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

14

15

93.3

1-1

4-4

6-7

3-3

0-0

46

34

34

76

 

 

A semifinalist for the Groza in 2017, Toner set the Stanford record for accuracy with his 93.3% success rate, the second-best mark in FBS last year. It also lifted his career rate to 85.4%, making him the most accurate active FBS kicker with more than one season of action. His lone miss came on his first attempt, so he enters this year on a streak of 14 straight.

Jake Verity – East Carolina

Class: Senior - Hometown: Bremen, Georgia

 

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

19

21

90.5

0-0

7-7

6-6

5-7

1-1

52

27

28

84

 

 

One of only two kickers in FBS to attempt at least 20 field goals and still connect at a 90% rate, Verity set the East Carolina school record for accuracy. He made field goals in every game of the season, including seven with multiple FGs. Though he only made one against Old Dominion, he made it count, lifting the Pirates to a 37-35 win with 46 seconds left.  

Coby Weiss – USF

Class: Junior - Hometown: Gainesville, Florida

 

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

15

18

83.3

0-0

10-10

5-6

0-2

0-0

38

35

39

80

 

 

In his first year at USF, Weiss walked on to the team and didn’t take over the job until the third game of the season. After missing the first two attempts of his career, everything clicked and he went 15-for-16 the rest of the way. In just his second ever road game, he notched his first game-winner, rallying the Bulls to a 25-24 victory over Tulsa.

Louie Zervos – Ohio

Class: Senior - Hometown: Tarpon Springs, Florida

 

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

13

17

76.5

0-0

7-8

4-5

2-4

0-0

47

68

68

107

 

 

After three seasons of consistently high quality, Zervos enters the year as the FBS active leader in virtually every kicking category. His 57 field goals, 335 points, and 39 kicks from at least 30 yards out are all the best career marks of any active kicker in the nation. He needs 75 points to become Ohio’s all-time leading scorer.

 

 

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