2008 Groza Winner Graham Gano signs with the Ravens
Another Lou Groza Award winner is on his way to the NFL. The Baltimore Ravens signed Florida State’s Graham Gano, the 2008 recipient of the coveted award to a free agent contract following this weekend’s NFL draft. As a senior, Gano connected on 24 of 26 field goals for the Seminoles. He joins Steve Hauschka as the two kickers on the Ravens’ roster. Gano can also punt.
Groza finalist Louie Sakoda of Utah signed a free agent contract with the San Diego Chargers where he will compete with 2002 Groza winner Nate Kaeding for the place kicking job. 2008 semi-finalists Pat McAfee of West Virginia and Ryan Succop of South Carolina were selected in the draft. McAfee and Succop were seventh round choices of the Indianapolis Colts and Kansas City Chiefs respectively.
Past Groza winners Martin Gramatica, Sebastian Janikowski, Nate Kaeding, and Mike Nugent were active NFL Kickers during the 2008 season.
The award, now in its 17th year, is named for NFL Hall-of-Fame kicker Lou 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. Nicknamed “The Toe,” Groza was one of the first people to truly make kicking an art form, and he helped usher in to football the idea that a player could be used exclusively for kicking.
For more information on the Lou Groza National Place Kicker Award visit www.lougrozaaward.com.