Football’s Gonzalez Named Groza Award Semifinalist
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Arizona State University true freshman placekicker Zane Gonzalez has been named one of 20 semifinalists for the Lou Groza National Collegiate Place-Kicker Award presented by the Orange Bowl Committee, the Palm Beach County Sports Commission announced Monday.
The Groza Award is given annually to the nation’s top placekicker and has become the most prestigious college football award for kickers.
Gonzalez, who is from Deer Park, Texas, leads all FBS kickers and ranks second in the nation in scoring at 11.6 points per game. His 93 points scored leads all Pac-12 kickers and is 24 points ahead of No. 2 Kaimi Fairbairn of UCLA and Andy Phillips of Utah.
Gonzalez has made 13 straight field goals since the USC game on Sept. 28 and has connected on 85 percent of his field goals at 17-for-20 this season. He is also 42-of-43 on extra points, and he leads the Pac-12 in both field goals and extra points made.
He is the fourth Sun Devil to earn Groza Award semifinalist recognition and the first since redshirt freshman Thomas Weber won the Groza Award in 2007. Mike Barth in 2001 and Robert Nycz in 1997 were also named semifinalists. Weber also earned consensus All-America honors that same season en route to the helping the Sun Devils to a 10-3 record and a berth in the Holiday Bowl.
Gonzalez’s 2.1 field goals made per game ranks second in the nation and his 17 made field goals are already the 10th most in school history. Luis Zendejas holds the single-season record at 28 in 1983.
Gonzalez is one of four freshmen on the semifinal list and one of four student-athletes from a Pac-12 school along with Cal’s Vincenzo D’Amato, Colorado’s Will Oliver and Utah’s Andy Phillips.
Gonzalez became the fifth different kicker in ASU history to make four field goals in a single game when he went 4-for-4 against Washington on Oct. 19. He is 4-for-5 between 30 and 39 yards, and 3-for-5 over 40 yards, with a long of 41, this season.
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 Nov. 25 and honored at the 22nd annual Lou Groza Collegiate Place‐Kicker Awards Banquet on Dec. 10 in West Palm Beach, Florida. The winner will be announced live on ESPN at the Home Depot College Football Awards Show on Thursday, Dec. 12.
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.
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