The Palm Beach County Sports Commission has released the 20 semifinalists for the 2020 Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award presented by the Orange Bowl. These 20 kickers have all excelled throughout the season in earning their places as semifinalists. The Palm Beach County Sports Commission has also announced the finalists for the Lou Groza Local High School Awards finalists.
Given the unique nature of this college football season, the committee considered all FBS kickers who had played in at least 6 games and attempted at least 10 field goals through the games of Week 14.
The list features five returning semifinalists, with Oklahoma sophomore Gabe Brkic, Wake Forest junior Nick Sciba, and Nevada sophomore Brandon Talton repeating the honor from last year. Miami (FL) senior Jose Borregales and Florida junior Evan McPherson return as semifinalists from 2018.
Though most of the names are new, the performances of these semifinalists are as strong as ever. Five qualified FBS kickers have made at least 15 field goals while connecting at a rate better than 80%, and all five were named semifinalists: Borregales (17), SMU senior Chris Naggar (17), UTSA senior Hunter Duplessis (16), Missouri freshman Harrison Mevis (16), and Auburn junior Anders Carlson (15).
The shortened season hasn’t meant shorter kicks for many of the semifinalists. Among qualified FBS kickers making at least 75% of their kicks, eight have connected on at least 6 field goals from 40 yards or more this season, earning semifinalist honors: Pitt senior Alex Kessman (9), Clemson junior B.T. Potter (8), Borregales (7), Western Kentucky sophomore Brayden Narveson (7), LSU sophomore Cade York (7), Brkic (6), BYU sophomore Jake Oldroyd (6), and Sciba (6).
It comes as no surprise that the national leaders in virtually every category found their ways onto the list, including the only two qualified kickers still perfect on the season, Oldroyd and Alabama sophomore Will Reichard. Also honored is the only qualified kicker averaging better than two field goals per game, Oklahoma State sophomore Alex Hale (2.17).
Semifinalists will be voted on by a panel of more than 100 FBS head coaches, SIDs, media members, former Groza finalists, and current NFL kickers to select the three finalists. These finalists will be announced on Dec. 22nd and honored at the 29th annual Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Awards Virtual Awards Celebration, streamed live on Jan. 4th on lougrozaaward.com. The same panel then selects the winner, who will be announced live on ESPN at the Home Depot College Football Awards Show on Thursday, Jan. 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.
Since the first Lou Groza Award was handed out in 1992, 28 finalists, including 16 winners, have gone on to appear in the NFL, earning 10 trips to the Pro Bowl and taking home six Super Bowls. That list includes 2020 NFL kickers Dan Bailey, Rodrigo Blankenship, Randy Bullock, Daniel Carlson, Mason Crosby, Jake Elliott, Ka’imi Fairbairn, Kai Forbath, Graham Gano, Matt Gay, Zane Gonzalez, Dustin Hopkins, Younghoe Koo, and Cairo Santos.
The Palm Beach County Sports Commission has also announced the finalists for the Lou Groza Local High School Awards finalists. The awards up for grabs are Team of the Year, Player of the Year, Coach of the Year, and Kicker of the Year.
Team of the Year finalists:
William T. Dwyer High School
Glades Central High School
Jupiter High School
Park Vista High School
Player of the Year finalists:
Atlantic High School’s Guenson Alexis
Forest Hill High School’s Jalen Jeter
Palm Beach Gardens High School’s Lynden Moss
American Heritage-Delray’s Brandon Schabert
William T. Dwyer High School’s Tre’Von Taylor
Coach of the Year finalists:
Glades Central High School’s Rashad Jackson
Atlantic High School’s TJ Jackson
American Heritage-Delray’s Nick Martinez
William T. Dwyer High School’s McKinley Rolle
Kicker of the Year finalists:
William T. Dwyer High School’s Chance Gagnon
Glades Central High School’s Jose Garcia
Jupiter High School’s Dylan Liska
Atlantic High School’s Carson Wilt
The winners will be announced at the virtual awards show on Jan. 4, 2021, at 7 p.m. live on LouGrozaAward.com.