West Palm Beach, Fla. -- The Palm Beach County Sports Commission has released the 20 semifinalists for the 2022 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.
Eight have been semifinalists before, including last year’s winner Michigan senior Jake Moody and Syracuse senior Andre Szmyt who won the award as a freshman back in 2018. Joining them are semifinalists from every year in between: NC State senior Christopher Dunn (2019), Georgia senior Jack Podlesny (2020), Clemson senior B.T. Potter (2020), Alabama senior Will Reichard (a finalist in 2020), Boise State junior Jonah Dalmas (2021), and the only three-time semifinalist in Missouri junior Harrison Mevis (2021 and 2020).
Among the names on the list are all 11 kickers who have made 15 or more field goals while connecting at 80% or better, including UTEP senior Gavin Baechle, the only FBS kicker to reach 20 field goals at this point. He’s joined by Wyoming sophomore John Hoyland (19), Dunn (18), Buffalo senior Alex McNulty (16), Podlesny (16), Reichard (16), University of Miami sophomore Andres Borregales (15), Oklahoma State senior Tanner Brown (15), North Texas senior Ethan Mooney (15), Potter (15) and Szmyt (15).
Four of the semifinalists are still perfect on field goals, with Dunn’s 18-for-18 mark leading the nation, followed by Stanford junior Joshua Karty (14-for-14), Arkansas State freshman Dominic Zvada (13-for-13) and South Alabama junior Diego Guajardo (12-for-12).
If Moody or Szmyt were to repeat their win, they would join Sebastian Janikowski as the only two-time Lou Groza Award recipients. On the other side of the coin, Zvada is joined by Iowa’s Drew Stevens as the only freshmen on the list, vying to become just the fourth freshman winner and the first since Szmyt himself.
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 29th and honored at the 31st annual Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award Banquet on December 5th in Palm Beach County. The same panel then selects the winner, who will be announced live on ESPN during the Home Depot College Football Awards on Thursday, December 8th.
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 13 trips to the Pro Bowl and taking home 7 Super Bowls. That list includes 2022 NFL kickers Rodrigo Blankenship, Randy Bullock, Daniel Carlson Mason Crosby, Jake Elliott, Ka’imi Fairbairn, Graham Gano, Matt Gay, Zane Gonzalez, Dustin Hopkins, Younghoe Koo, and Cairo Santos.
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 Jared Fleet, Director of Event Operations at the Palm Beach County Sports Commission at (561) 233-3120 or firstname.lastname@example.org.