Cowboys Kicker Rothe Among Finalist for Lou Groza Award
West Palm Beach, Fla. -- Wyoming junior placekicker Cooper Rothe is one of 20 semifinalists for the 2018 Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award presented by the Orange Bowl. Rothe has connected on all 14 of his field goal attempts this year, and 17 in a row dating back to last year’s Potato Bowl win over Central Michigan.
Five of the semifinalists are returning honorees, including last year’s Groza winner Utah senior Matt Gay and fellow finalist Utah State junior Dominik Eberle. They are joined by Georgia junior Rodrigo Blankenship and UTSA sophomore Jared Sackett, both 2017 semifinalists, as well as San Diego State senior John Baron II who earned the honor in 2016.
Among the 15 new names are two very different types of first-year FBS kickers who sit atop the leaderboards. Syracuse freshman Andre Szymt and LSU senior Cole Tracy, a graduate transfer from Division II, lead the nation with 21 made field goals. The next five kickers trailing them while also connecting at 80% or better are also semifinalists: Arkansas junior Connor Limpert (16), Eberle (15), North Texas senior Cole Hedlund (15), Baron (14), and Rothe (14).
Rothe’s has the most field goals of any kciker in FBS withoua miss. He is joined on the semifinal list by the two other kickers still perfect while attempting more field goals than team games: Georgia Southern junior Tyler Bass (11) and UCF senior Matthew Wright (8). The next four most accurate qualifying kickers are also semifinalists: Florida freshman Evan McPherson (92.3), Michigan State sophomore Matt Coghlin (91.7), Szmyt (91.3) and Tracy (91.3).
Moving from accuracy to distance, the six kickers with the most field goals from 40 yards or longer are all semifinalists: Sackett (9), Illinois senior Chase McLaughlin (8), Blankenship (7), Eberle (7), Szmyt (7), and Central Michigan junior Ryan Tice (7).
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 November 20th and honored at the 27th annual Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Awards Banquet on December 3rd in Palm Beach County. The same panel then selects the winner, who will be announced live on ESPN at the Home Depot College Football Awards Show on Thursday, December 6th.
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, 26 finalists, including 14 winners, have gone on to appear in the NFL, earning 10 trips to the Pro Bowl and taking home seven Super Bowls. That list includes 2018 NFL kickers Dan Bailey, Randy Bullock, Daniel Carlson, Mason Crosby, Jake Elliott, Ka’imi Fairbairn, Graham Gano, Zane Gonzalez, Dustin Hopkins, Sebastian Janikowski, Mike Nugent, Cairo Santos, and Caleb Sturgis.
|John Baron II – San Diego State|
|Height: 5'11" - Weight: 190 - Class: Senior - Hometown: Temecula, California|
|Tyler Bass – Georgia Southern|
|Height: 5'10" - Weight: 189 - Class: Junior - Hometown: Irmo, South Carolina|
|Massimo Biscardi – Coastal Carolina|
|Height: 5'11" - Weight: 195 - Class: Freshman - Hometown: Downingtown, Pennsylvania|
|Rodrigo Blankenship – Georgia|
|Height: 6'1" - Weight: 191 - Class: Junior - Hometown: Marietta, Georgia|
|Jose Borregales – Florida International|
|Height: 5'10" - Weight: 206 - Class: Sophomore - Hometown: Miami, Florida|
|Matt Coghlin – Michigan State|
|Height: 5'9" - Weight: 190 - Class: Sophomore - Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio|
|Dominik Eberle – Utah State|
|Height: 6'2" - Weight: 195 - Class: Junior - Hometown: Nuremberg, Germany|
|Matt Gay – Utah|
|Height: 6'0" - Weight: 230 - Class: Senior - Hometown: Orem, Utah|