John Wallace

Groza Award watch list headlined by last year’s winner

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Brad Craddock was the winner of the 2014 Lou Groza Award.  He returned for the 2015 season.  Not surprisingly, he’s earned a spot on a watch list.

Given annually to the nation’s top placekicker, the Groza Award is the latest to release its watch list, with a total of 30 players littering this particular preseason grouping.  Joining Craddock are Florida State junior Roberto Aguayo — after he eschewed early entry in the NFL draft — and West Virginia junior Josh Lambert, both finalists for the Groza in 2014.

From the Groza Award’s press release:

Only five returning FBS kickers attempted at least 10 kicks and made at least 90% of them, and all are on the Watch List: Craddock (94.7), Kansas State sophomore Matthew McCrane (94.7), Oregon sophomore Aidan Schneider (91.7), two-time semifinalist Duke senior Ross Martin (90.5) and Aguayo (90.0).

The Watch List also includes all ten returning kickers who made more than 20 field goals at a rate of 75% or higher: Lambert (30), Aguayo (27), two-time semifinalist Utah junior Andy Phillips (23), Bowling Green senior Tyler Tate (23), returning semifinalist Virginia senior Ian Frye (22), two- time semifinalist Arizona State junior Zane Gonzalez (22), Oklahoma State junior Ben Grogan (22), two-time semifinalist TCU senior Jaden Oberkrom (22), and returning semifinalist Clemson senior Ammon Lakip (21).

Below is the complete list of 2015 Groza Award watch listers:

Roberto Aguayo – Florida State
Kyle Bullard – Houston
Brad Craddock – Maryland
Ka’imi Fairbairn – UCLA
Elliott Fry – South Carolina
Ian Frye – Virginia
Rafeal Gaglianone – Wisconsin
Andrew Gantz – Cincinnati
Zane Gonzalez – Arizona State
Paul Griggs – Purdue
Ben Grogan – Oklahoma State
Donny Hageman – San Diego State
Andrew Haldeman – Western Michigan
Ammon Lakip – Clemson
Josh Lambert – West Virginia
Austin MacGinnis – Kentucky
Ross Martin – Duke
Jay Mattox – UTEP
Matthew McCrane – Kansas State
Trevor Moore – North Texas
Marshall Morgan – Georgia
Cole Murphy – Syracuse
Jaden Oberkrom – TCU
Andy Phillips – Utah
Aidan Schneider – Oregon
Robert Stein – Akron
Aleem Sunanon – South Alabama
Tyler Tate – Bowling Green
Cameron Van Winkle – Washington
John Wallace – Louisville

2013 winner, FSU’s Aguayo, one of 20 Groza semifinalists

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They may not be “football players” according to some folks but, dammit, kickers are people too and deserve some recognition for something other than missing a kick and costing their team a game.

In that vein, the Lou Groza Award Thursday announced its 20 semifinalists for the 2014 version of the booting honor.  The headliner for this year’s group of semifinalists is last year’s winner, Florida State’s Robert Aguayo.

There are also three other 2013 semifinalists who made the cut this year: Maryland’s Brad Craddock, Arizona State’s Zane Gonzalez, and Utah’s Andy Phillips. Additionally, two 2012 semifinalists — Duke’s Ross Martin and TCU’s Jaden Oberkrom — made a return trip after being absent in 2013.

If I were a voter — and as it happens I am — my three votes for finalists would go to Aguayo, Craddock and West Virginia’s Josh Lambert at the moment.  That could change, though, in the two weeks before they’re due.

Anyway, below are the 20 finalists for the 2014 Groza Award:

Corey Acosta, Southern Miss
Roberto Aguayo, Florida State
Kyle Bullard, Houston
Will Conant, Air Force
Brad Craddock, Maryland
Sam Ficken , Penn State
Elliott Fry, South Carolina
Ian Frye, Virginia
Andrew Gantz, Cincinnati
Zane Gonzalez, Arizona State
Ben Grogan, Oklahoma State
Ammon Lakip, Clemson
Josh Lambert, West Virginia
Justin Manton, Louisiana-Monroe
Ross Martin, Duke
Cole Murphy, Syracuse
Jaden Oberkrom, TCU
Andy Phillips, Utah
Scott Secor, Ball State
John Wallace, Louisville

Lou Groza Award watch list headlined by FSU’s Aguayo

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Award watch list season continued Wednesday with a nod to the kicking game. The watch lists for the Lou Groza Award and Ray Guy Award were on the agenda for the day, giving special teams players their day in the sun. First up is the Lou Groza Award, which is awarded to the best place-kicker in the country by the Palm Beach County Sports Commission.

Last year’s Lou Groza Award went to Florida State’s Roberto Aguayo. He headlines this year’s watch list as he looks to become the first player since Sebastian Janikowski, also from Florida State, to win the award in consecutive seasons. Janikowski won the award in 1998 and 1999. No school has more Lou Groza Award winners than Florida State. In addition to Janikowski and Aguayo, Graham Gano won the award in 2008. Joining Aguayo on the watch list is 2013 Lou Groza Award finalist Marvin Kloss of USF.

Semifinalists for the Lou Groza Award will be announced November 6 and the finalists will be unveiled on November 24. The winner will be named at the award’s banquet on December 9.

Here is this year’s Lou Groza Award watch list:

Roberto Aguayo, Florida State

Kyle Brindza, Notre Dame

Ryan Bustin, Texas Tech

Jack Cantele, Kansas State

Will Conant, Air Force

Brad Craddick, Maryland

Colby Delahoussaye, LSU

Jeremiah Detmer, Toledo

Jake Elliott, Memphis

Kyle Fischer, Louisiana Tech

Elliott Fry, South Carolina

Michael Geiger, Michigan State

Zane Gonzalez, Arizona State

Dan Goodale, Boise State

Michael Hunnicutt, Oklahoma

Maxwell Johnson, New Mexico State

Marvin Kloss, USF

Austin Lopez, San Jose State

Shawn Moffitt, UCF

Marshall Morgan, Georgia

Jaden Oberkrom, TCU

Will Oliver, Colorado

Andy Phillips, Utah

Jared Roberts, Colorado State

Niklas Sade, North Carolina State

Carl Salazar, Tulsa

Tyler Tate, Bowling Green

John Wallace, Louisville

Jordan Williamson, Stanford

Josiah Yazdani, Ohio


Catch up on your watch lists released this week:

Maxwell Award (best player)

Bednarik Award (best defensive player)

Hornung Award (most versatile player)

Mackey Award (best tight end)

Rimington Trophy (best center)

2012 winner headlines Groza preseason watch list

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It’s been 14 years since a placekicker has won back-to-back Lou Groza Awards.  Cairo Santos, you’re officially on the clock.

The Tulane kicker was one of 30 players named to the 2013 preseason watch list for the Groza Award, named in honor of the Hall of Fame kicker/offensive lineman from the Cleveland Browns.  In addition to Santos, 10 other semifinalists for last year’s award appear on this year’s watch list.

Santos, who was not listed on last year’s preseason watch list, connected on all 21 of his field goal attempts in 2012.  The only other kicker to hit on every field-goal attempt, San Jose State’s Austin Lopez (17-for-17), is one of the 30 preseason watch players as well.

The Big Ten, ACC, Conference USA and MAC all placed four kickers each on the list.  The Mountain West was next with three.

The Groza Award was first handed out in 1992 and won by Joe Allison of Memphis State (now Memphis).  Florida State’s Sebastian Janikowski won the award in 1998 and 1999.

Chris Boswell – Rice
Kyle Brindza – Notre Dame
Jeff Budzien – Northwestern
Chandler Catanzaro – Clemson
Brian Davis – Arkansas State
Jeremiah Detmer – Toledo
Nick Diaz – Utah State
Mitch Ewald – Indiana
Nate Freese – Boston College
Andrew Furney – Washington State
Brendan Gibbons – Michigan
Warren Harvey – East Carolina
Michael Hunnicutt – Oklahoma
Cody Journell – Virginia Tech
Ty Long – UAB
Austin Lopez – San Jose State
Ross Martin – Duke
Mike Meyer – Iowa
Tony Miliano – Cincinnati
Dylan Mulder – Eastern Michigan
Jaden Oberkrom – TCU
Cody Parkey – Auburn
Kaleb Patterson – Miami (OH)
Jared Roberts – Colorado State
Trevor Romaine – Oregon State
Cairo Santos – Tulane
Will Scott – Troy
Mathew Sims – Northern Illinois
Carey Spear – Vanderbilt
John Wallace – Louisville