NOTE: CollegeFootballPoll.com's Dave Congrove is a voter for the Lou Groza Award.
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Headlined by two past winners and three other former finalists, it’s a highly competitive year on the thirty-player Watch List for the 2022 Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award, as announced by the Palm Beach County Sports Commission.
Reigning Groza winner Jake Moody joins 2018 winner Andre Szmyt as kickers with a chance to become just the second player to ever win the award multiple times, joining Sebastian Janikowski who won in 1998 and 1999. They’ll have to fend off competition from 2021 finalist Noah Ruggles, 2020 finalists Jacob Oldroyd and Will Reichard, and 15 other past semifinalists. That total includes multi-year semifinalists in Missouri junior Harrison Mevis, UTSA senior Jared Sackett, and Nevada senior Brandon Talton, who has been a semifinalist in each of his first three seasons.
Eleven returning kickers made at least a dozen field goals last season while converting at least 83% of their attempts, and all of them landed on the Watch List: Arizona sophomore Tyler Loop (12 FG, 100%), Tulsa senior Zack Long (22, 95.7), Ohio State senior Ruggles (20, 95.2), Boise State junior Jonah Dalmas (26, 92.9), Missouri junior Mevis (23, 92.0), Michigan senior Moody (23, 92.0), UNLV senior Daniel Gutierrez (16, 88.9), Maryland senior Chad Ryland (19, 86.4), Hawaii junior Matthew Shipley (18, 85.7), Texas State junior Seth Keller (15, 83.3), and Arkansas sophomore Cam Little (20, 83.3).
If you’re looking more for sheer volume of field goals, 13 returning kickers made at least 18 attempts while converting better than 75% of the time, with that group also being voted onto the Watch List: Dalmas (26, 92.9), Colorado State senior Cayden Camper (25, 78.1), Purdue senior Mitchell Fineran (24, 82.8), Mevis (23, 92.0), Moody (23, 92.0), Western Kentucky junior Brayden Narveson (23, 79.3), Long (22, 95.7), Georgia senior Jack Podlesny (22, 81.5), Northern Illinois junior John Richardson (22, 81.5), Alabama senior Reichard (22, 78.6), Clemson senior B.T. Potter (21, 80.8), Ruggles (20, 95.2), Little (20, 83.3), Notre Dame senior Blake Grupe (20, 80.0), Ryland (19, 86.4), East Carolina sophomore Owen Daffer (19, 82.6), West Virginia senior Casey Legg (19, 82.6) and Shipley (18, 85.7).
While the Watch List highlights 30 of the best returning kickers in the country, Moody, who was not on the 2021 Watch List, stands as proof that the Groza Committee will be watching all FBS kickers throughout the season, as all FBS kickers remain eligible to be selected as semifinalists. The Committee releases a weekly “Stars of the Week” feature on www.lougrozaaward.com.
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, announced on 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 on ESPN.
The 31st 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 the West Palm Beach Marriott on December 5th.
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. The NCFAA 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 our story.
The members of the NCFAA are unveiling preseason watch lists over a two-week period. Sixteen of the association's 25 awards are presenting 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 2022 preseason watch list calendar:
Following are the remaining 2022 preseason watch list release dates:
Thurs., July 28: Paul Hornung Award / Wuerffel Trophy
Fri., July 29: Walter Camp Award
Mon., Aug. 1: Bednarik 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.