West Palm Beach, Fla. -- The Palm Beach County Sports Commission has released the 20 semifinalists for the 2013 Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award presented by the Orange Bowl Committee. These twenty kickers have all excelled throughout the season in earning their places as semifinalists.
While last year's winner Cairo Santos makes the list, the senior from Tulane is one of only five returning semifinalists, joined by Northwestern senior Jeff Budzien, Arkansas State senior Brian Davis, Oklahoma senior Michael Hunnicutt, and Texas senior Anthony Fera, who was a semifinalist in 2011 while at Penn State.
Among the new semifinalists are four players who can each claim the top spot on one of the nation's kicking leaderboards. Texas Tech junior Ryan Bustin not only leads the nation in kick-scoring with 98 points, but his 19 field goals are also the most in FBS and have already set a new single-season Red Raider record. In terms of distance, everyone is chasing South Florida junior Marvin Kloss, whose 9 kicks from 40 yards or more lead the nation, as does his spectacular 4-for-4 showing on kicks from at least 50 yards out. Georgia sophomore Marshall Morgan missed the first two games of the season but has still kicked 13 field goals, helping him to the national lead in field goals per game. On a per-game basis, Arizona State freshman Zane Gonzalez tops all FBS kickers in scoring at 11.6 points per contest.
Gonzalez isn't the only freshman on the semifinalist list. He's joined by Jake Elliott at Memphis, Andy Phillips at Utah, and Florida State's Roberto Aguayo, who has yet to miss on any of his 12 field goal attempts or 53 point-after tries. Aguayo's 12 field goals are the most in the nation by a kicker yet to miss, as are his 65 total kicks. He's not the only perfect kicker on the semifinalist list: Arkansas State's Davis has gone 10-for-10 on field goals, while Central Florida junior Shawn Moffitt has yet to miss on either his 9 field goals or 28 extra points.
Semifinalists will be voted on by FBS Head Coaches and SIDs, past Groza finalists, and national and regional football writers to select the three finalists. These finalists will be announced on November 25th and honored at the 22nd annual Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Awards Banquet on December 10th in West Palm Beach, Florida. The winner will be announced live on ESPN at the Home Depot College Football Awards Show on Thursday, December 12th.
The award is named in honor of one of the all-time great kickers in football history, Lou Groza. Groza played 21 seasons for the Cleveland Browns setting numerous franchise records, including most games played, most points scored, and an amazing 107 consecutive games in which he scored a point. Groza was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1974.
Since the first Lou Groza Award was handed out in 1992, 16 finalists, including 10 winners, have gone on to appear in the NFL, earning eight trips to the Pro Bowl and taking home five Super Bowls. That list includes current NFL kickers Dan Bailey, Randy Bullock, Mason Crosby, Kai Forbath, Graham Gano, Garrett Hartley, Dustin Hopkins, Sebastian Janikowski, Mike Nugent, Caleb Sturgis, and Blair Walsh.
For more information regarding the Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award, please visit LouGrozaAward.com, or follow @LouGrozaAward on Twitter for updates as they happen. Additional information can be obtained by contacting Kris Pursell, Director of Event Operations at the Palm Beach County Sports Commission at (561) 233-3124 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the full PDF version of this release, including semifinalist headshots and stats, please click here.