Palm Beach County Sports Commission Presents

Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award

Palm Beach Sports

Watch List

Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award

Announces 2020 Preseason Watch List

 

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Headlined by two returning finalists, a previous winner, a dozen 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 2020 Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award, as announced by the Palm Beach County Sports Commission.

Last year’s Groza winner, Rodrigo Blankenship, is now an Indianapolis Colt, but his fellow finalists Iowa senior Keith Duncan and Washington State junior Blake Mazza are back to vie for the award. Also returning is Syracuse junior and 2018 Groza winner Andre Szmyt, who could become just the second player to ever win the award multiple times, joining Sebastian Janikowski who won in 1998 and 1999.

Among the players on the Watch List are all 10 returning FBS kickers who made more than 20 field goals last season while connecting at least 80% of the time: Duncan (29, 85.3%), Kent State junior Matthew Trickett (29, 85.3%), Wake Forest junior Nick Sciba (24, 96.0%), East Carolina senior Jake Verity (24, 82.8%), Memphis senior Riley Patterson (23, 92.0%), Tennessee senior Brent Cimaglia (23, 85.2%), Arizona State junior Cristian Zendejas (23, 85.2%), San Diego State sophomore Matt Araiza (22, 84.6%), NC State junior Christopher Dunn (21, 87.5%), and Nevada sophomore Brandon Talton (21, 84.0%).

Among returning kickers who made more at least 10 field goals, only eight connected at a rate of at least 90%, and all of them found their way to the Watch List: Oklahoma sophomore Gabe Brkic (100%), Sciba (96.0%), Mazza (95.2%), Patterson (92.0%), Penn State junior Jake Pinegar (91.7%), Texas Tech sophomore Trey Wolff (90.9%), Washington junior Peyton Henry (90.5%), and Kansas State senior Blake Lynch (90.5%).

The Watch List also includes the only four returning FBS kickers who scored at least 120 points last season: LSU sophomore Cade York (152), Patterson (134), Trickett (126), and Ohio State senior Blake Haubeil (124).

While the Watch List highlights 30 of the best returning kickers in the country, 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 5th. 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 24th. That same group then selects the national winner, who will be announced on Thursday, December 10th during the Home Depot College Football Awards Show on ESPN.

The 29th 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 7th

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 and @NCFAA on Twitter to learn more about the association.

The members of the NCFAA are unveiling preseason watch lists over a 10-day period this month. Fourteen of the association’s 25 awards will present their preseason watch list during this time as the NCFAA has spearheaded a coordinated effort to promote each award’s preseason candidates.

 

Following is the complete 2020 preseason watch list calendar:

 

Mon., July 13:            Bednarik Award

Tue., July 14:              Davey O’Brien Award

Wed., July 15:            Doak Walker Award

Thu., July 16:              Biletnikoff Award

Fri., July 17:                Mackey Award

Mon., July 20:            Butkus Award / Paycom Jim Thorpe Award

Tue., July 21:              Bronko Nagurski Trophy / Outland Trophy

Wed., July 22:            Lou Groza Award / Ray Guy Award

Thu., July 23:              Paul Hornung Award / Wuerffel Trophy

Fri., July 24:                Maxwell 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 Holiday Basketball Classic 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?
 
pollcode.com free polls

*This poll does not count towards actual winner of the award

 

 

Matt Araiza – San Diego State

Class: Sophomore - Hometown: San Diego, California

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

22

26

84.6

0-0

10-10

5-6

7-10

0-0

48

28

28

94

 

No freshman in the country made more field goals than Araiza, whose 22 kicks also set the San Diego State school record. His excellence was clear right out of the gate, as he scored all of SDSU’s points in their 6-0 victory over Weber State and then followed that with an 11-point performance in the Aztecs’ 23-14 upset win on the road against UCLA. He would finish the year as one of only five FBS kickers to make field goals in every game of the season.

Gabe Brkic – Oklahoma

Class: Sophomore - Hometown: Chardon, Ohio

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

17

17

100

1-1

5-5

7-7

3-3

1-1

50

52

52

103

 

A 2019 Groza semifinalist, there is an argument that no kicker has ever had a better season in FBS history than Brkic’s freshman campaign. Not only was he the only kicker in the country to make every attempt – both FGs and XPs – on the year, his combined total of 69 perfect attempts is the most in FBS history by a kicker who didn’t miss.

Brent Cimaglia – Tennessee

Class: Senior - Hometown: Nashville, Tennessee

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

23

27

85.2

1-1

5-5

8-10

7-9

2-2

53

35

35

104

 

A 2019 Groza semifinalist, Cimaglia kicked more field goals in one season than any Tennessee kicker in over 30 years. His 17 makes from at least 30 yards out rank third among returning FBS kickers. He went 3-for-3 on field goals in three games, including both the season opener and the Gator Bowl, and topped those with a 4-for-4 performance against BYU.

Brian Delaney – Virginia

Class: Senior - Hometown: Chantilly, Virginia

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

20

24

83.3

0-0

8-8

8-11

4-5

0-0

49

50

52

110

 

Delaney’s 110-point season ranks third all-time at Virginia, and ties him for ninth among returning FBS kickers. He enters this season having made 13 consecutive field goal attempts, including a 48 yarder with 1:28 left against rival Virginia Tech that broke a 30-30 tie and led the ‘Hoos to victory.

Jonathan Doerer – Notre Dame

Class: Senior - Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

17

20

85

1-1

3-3

6-7

5-7

2-2

52

57

57

108

 

They’ve played football for over 130 years at Notre Dame, but no Irish kicker had ever scored 100 points until Doerer. He went 4-for-4 twice, including in a Camping World Bowl victory, but it’s his 3-for-3 game against USC that stands out most, connecting from 43, 45 and 52 yards out in a 30-27 win over the Trojans.

Keith Duncan – Iowa

Class: Senior - Hometown: Weddington, North Carolina

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

29

34

85.3

1-1

10-10

4-5

14-18

0-0

49

32

32

119

 

A finalist for the Groza in 2019, Duncan finished the regular season with five more field goals than anyone else in the country, becoming the first Big Ten kicker to lead the nation since Mike Nugent’s 2004 Groza-winning campaign. His 29 makes in fact set the Big Ten’s all-time record and tie for sixth-most in FBS history. Despite not having the chance to attempt a 50-yarder, he still led the nation in field goals from at least 40 yards out.

Christopher Dunn – NC State

Class: Junior - Hometown: Lexington, North Carolina

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

21

24

87.5

0-0

9-9

8-8

4-5

0-2

46

28

28

91

 

A 2019 Groza semifinalist, Dunn’s 87.5% field goal accuracy last season ranked fifth among kickers with at least his 24 attempts. That mark actually managed to bring down his career field goal percentage, but even so, no active FBS kicker with at least 50 career attempts can match his 88.0% connection rate.

Blake Grupe – Arkansas State

Class: Junior - Hometown: Sedalia, Missouri

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

19

22

86.4

2-2

5-5

6-6

6-8

0-1

46

53

54

110

 

A 2019 Groza semifinalist, Grupe set the Arkansas State all-time mark for scoring by a kicker with his 110-point campaign. He put up double-digit points in six different games, five of which came on the road. That includes a 10-point performance that more than accounted for the margin of victory in A-State’s 34-26 Camelia Bowl victory over FIU.

Blake Haubeil – Ohio State

Class: Senior - Hometown: Buffalo, New York

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

13

15

86.7

0-0

6-6

3-5

3-3

1-1

55

85

85

124

 

Ohio State’s high-powered offense only offered Haubeil 10 attempts during the regular season, but in the games that mattered most, he came alive. Between the Big Ten Championship Game and the CFP semifinal in the Fiesta Bowl, he went 5-for-5 on field goals and totaled 21 points. His 85 extra points were the most in FBS without a miss last year.

Peyton Henry – Washington

Class: Junior - Hometown: Danville, California

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

19

21

90.5

0-0

10-11

7-7

2-3

0-0

49

49

49

106

 

A 2019 Groza semifinalist, Henry’s 90.5% accuracy rate ranks fifth among returning FBS kickers who attempted at least 20 field goals last year. Outside of two field goal attempts on the road at Oregon State, he didn’t miss a kick all season, with a combined 97.1% connection on all attempts, the 4th highest mark among returning FBS kickers with more than 10 kicks.  

Brian Johnson – Virginia Tech

Class: Senior - Hometown: Washington, D.C.

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

19

23

82.6

0-0

10-10

5-5

3-5

1-3

54

48

48

105

 

Johnson enters the season on a streak of 12 consecutive made field goals, including 3-for-3 performances in both the regular season finale against Virginia and against Kentucky in the Belk Bowl. In that game, while wearing the honorary #25 jersey of Coach Frank Beamer, he connected on a career-long 54 yard field goal.

Blake Lynch – Kansas State

Class: Senior - Hometown: Goddard, Kansas

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

19

21

90.5

0-0

5-5

10-11

4-5

0-0

46

46

46

103

 

With a career 89.2% accuracy rate, Lynch currently stands as the most accurate kicker in a Kansas State history that includes 1997 Groza winner Martin Gramatica and two-time finalist Jamie Rheem. That mark also ranks third among all active FBS kickers with at least 30 career field goal attempts.

John Mayers – Baylor

Class: Sophomore - Hometown: Flower Mound, Texas

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

16

19

84.2

1-1

8-8

5-8

1-1

1-1

51

53

53

101

 

Mayers’ stellar year was pivotal to Baylor finishing the regular season 11-1. His first collegiate FG came with 21 seconds left to lift the Bears to a 23-21 win over Iowa State. A 36 yarder against West Virginia gave them a 17-14 victory. Against TCU his 3 FGs were all of Baylor’s regulation scoring, including a 51 yarder with 36 seconds left to set up an overtime win.

Blake Mazza – Washington State

Class: Junior - Hometown: Plano, Texas

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

20

21

95.2

0-0

6-6

11-11

1-2

2-2

51

55

57

115

 

A finalist for the Groza in 2019, Mazza connected on his first 18 field goal attempts to set a new Washington State record. Only a missed 48 yarder in late November separated him from 2012 Groza winner Cairo Santos’ record for most field goals in a perfect season. His 95.2% conversion rate was by far the best by an FBS kicker with multiple 50-yard field goals.

Evan McPherson – Florida

Class: Junior - 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

5-6

5-5

6-7

1-1

50

47

48

98

 

A semifinalist in 2018, McPherson put up his second consecutive 17-for-19 FG season, giving him a career 89.5% accuracy rate that is highest in Florida history and the second-best career mark by an active FBS kicker with multiple seasons. Among kickers with at least 7 FGs from 40+ yards last season, only one posted a better overall FG percentage.

Matt Mercurio – San Jose State

Class: Sophomore - Hometown: Salinas, California

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

20

24

83.3

0-0

10-10

5-5

5-9

0-0

49

37

39

97

 

Mercurio became the first kicker in San Jose State history to convert four field goals in three different games in the same season. All three of them came during a stretch in which he made 16 consecutive attempts, the third-longest streak in FBS last year. Two of them keyed victories, including a pivotal 14-point performance on the road in a 34-29 win over Army.

Riley Patterson – Memphis

Class: Senior - Hometown: Edwardsville, Illinois

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

23

25

92

0-0

5-5

7-8

6-6

5-6

52

65

66

134

 

A 2019 Groza semifinalist, Patterson became the first FBS kicker since 2016 Groza winner Zane Gonzalez to kick at least five 50-yard field goals while connecting at better than 90% overall. With 351 career points, he is the FBS active leader in kick-scoring, while his career 80.3% accuracy (49-for-61) is the best by any FBS kicker now entering their fourth season.

Jake Pinegar – Penn State

Class: Junior - Hometown: Ankeny, Iowa

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

11

12

91.7

0-0

4-4

4-5

3-3

0-0

47

56

58

89

 

After just two seasons, Pinegar is already just outside the top-ten on Penn State’s career kick-scoring list, and sits at #20 in career points by Nittany Lions at any position. His 91.7% field goal accuracy is 5th best among returning kickers who attempted at least 10 kicks last year.

AJ Reed – Arkansas

Class: Senior - Hometown: Prattville, Alabama

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

15

18

83.3

0-0

2-2

8-8

3-6

2-2

51

34

34

79

 

A 2019 Groza semifinalist while at Duke, Reed has transferred to Arkansas and brought his stellar resume with him. He is one of only six returning FBS kickers to make multiple field goals from 50 yards without missing a long-distance attempt. He comes to Arkansas with a streak of 61 consecutive extra points, having missed only one in his career at Duke.

Jared Sackett – USF

Class: Junior - Hometown: Fort Worth, Texas

2018 stats

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

14

19

73.7

1-1

1-1

3-3

8-13

1-1

51

18

18

60

 

A semifinalist in each of his first two seasons at UTSA, Sackett sat out last season to transfer and has ended up in Tampa with USF. Among non-senior kickers, his 14 career field goals from at least 40 yards out are tied for second in FBS, one behind 2019 Groza finalist Keith Duncan. In UTSA’s 3 wins in 2018, he kicked 8 FGs (7 from 40+) and scored 31 points.

Nick Sciba – Wake Forest

Class: Junior - Hometown: Clover, South Carolina

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

24

25

96

0-0

13-13

6-6

5-6

0-0

45

47

47

119

 

A 2019 Groza semifinalist, Sciba set the NCAA record with 34 consecutive field goals, having made his last 11 of 2018 and then rattling off 23 straight last year. At 96.0%, he was the most accurate kicker with at least 20 attempts in an FBS season since 2013. He enters the year with the best career percentage (91.5%) of any active kicker with multiple seasons.

Andre Szmyt – Syracuse

Class: Junior - Hometown: Vernon Hills, Illinois

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

17

20

85

0-0

8-8

3-3

5-8

1-1

50

39

40

90

 

The 2018 Groza Award winner, Szmyt sits fifth on the active FBS field goal list, despite having only played two seasons. At 87.0%, he is the most accurate active kicker with more than 50 career field goal attempts. Among non-seniors, his 28 career field goals from at least 30 yards out are the most in the nation.   

Brandon Talton – Nevada

Class: Sophomore - Hometown: Vacaville, California

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

21

25

84

0-0

7-8

9-10

3-3

2-4

56

27

29

90

 

A 2019 Groza semifinalist, Talton walked on as a true freshman and made his first 13 field goal attempts, including a 56-yard game-winner against Purdue that earned him a scholarship. He added a second game-winner with a 40 yard make as time expired to lift Nevada past San Jose State 41-38. He went 4-for-4 with 13 points in a 19-13 win over Weber State.

Matthew Trickett – Kent State

Class: Junior - Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

29

34

85.3

0-0

13-14

6-7

10-11

0-2

47

39

39

126

 

Trickett matched Groza finalist Keith Duncan with an FBS-leading 29-for-34 season. He hit three game-winning field goals, walking off with a 26-23 overtime win over Kennesaw State and a 30-27 victory over Buffalo, followed by a 41-38 win over Ball State. In the Frisco Bowl, he set a school record by going 5-for-5 on field goals, scoring 19 points in a 51-41 win over Utah State.

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

24

29

82.8

0-0

11-11

8-9

4-6

1-3

51

33

33

105

 

A 2019 Groza semifinalist, Verity is the national leader in career field goals with 60. That mark is also, like nearly all his stats, an East Carolina record. His 24 field goals are the most by a Pirate kicker in one season. Among active FBS kickers, his 35 career field goals from at least 30 yards out and 18 from at least 40 yards are each tied for 2nd in the nation.

Parker White – South Carolina

Class: Senior - Hometown: Mount Pleasant, South Carolina

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

18

22

81.8

0-0

5-5

6-7

6-6

1-4

50

25

25

79

 

White only missed one field goal attempt from within 50 yards last year. His long distance kick came as part of a 3-for-3 field goal performance vs Appalachian State, a mark he also hit against Alabama. But it was his 24 yarder in double overtime against Georgia that fans will remember best, outdueling last year’s Groza winner Rodrigo Blankenship.

Dalton Witherspoon – Houston

Class: Senior - Hometown: Moore, Oklahoma

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

20

24

83.3

0-0

9-10

5-6

6-8

0-0

46

40

40

100

 

Witherspoon made field goals in every game last season, including a stretch where he converted 15 straight attempts to set a new Houston record for consecutive makes in one season. He went 3-for-3 on field goals in three games, including on the road at UCF in which all three came in the first half, the first time a Houston kicker made 3 in one half since 2016.

Trey Wolff – Texas Tech

Class: Sophomore - Hometown: Spring, Texas

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

20

22

90.9

0-0

11-11

5-5

4-6

0-0

45

40

41

100

 

Only five FBS kickers made at least 20 field goals while connecting at better than 90%, and only Wolff did it as a freshman. The 20 field goals rank second in Texas Tech history, while his 90.9% accuracy is only the second 90+ mark by a Red Raider since 2000. He made 3 field goals in three straight games, all against ranked conference opponents.  

Cade York – LSU

Class: Sophomore - Hometown: McKinney, Texas

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

21

27

77.8

0-0

8-8

4-4

5-10

4-5

52

89

93

152

 

No LSU Tiger has ever scored more points in a season than York, whose 152 points were the most by an FBS kicker last year and second among players at any position. Beyond the eye-popping extra point total, he kicked four long distance field goals in a four-game stretch, including a pair in the regular season finale and one in the SEC Championship Game.

Cristian Zendejas – Arizona State

Class: Junior - Hometown: Chandler, Arizona

FGM

FGA

FG%

1-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50+

LONG

XPM

XPA

PTS

23

27

85.2

0-0

10-10

8-9

5-7

0-1

43

29

30

98

 

Arguably no kicker finished the season in better form than Zendejas, who went 10-for-10 on field goals over the final three games, including a Sun Bowl-record four field goals in Arizona State’s 20-14 win over Florida State and three crucial makes in the Sun Devils’ 31-28 upset of Oregon. His 23 field goals are tied for fifth among returning FBS kickers.

 

 

 

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