Lou Groza Award highlights BYU's Oldroyd on 2021 Watch List
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Headlined by a previous winner and three former finalists, including BYU's Jake Oldroyd, the 2021 Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award Watch List boasts a highly competitive field of 30 outstanding kickers.
Announced Wednesday by the Palm Beach County Sports Commission, the 2021 preseason candidates for the nation's top place-kicker includes an unprecedented 20 former semifinalists.
A Lou Groza Award finalist in 2020, Oldroyd was named to four All-America teams as a sophomore last year in addition to being among the final three players up for the Groza Award. He was named second-team All-America by Walter Camp and The Athletic, while being a third-team honoree by The Associated Press and Phil Steele. Oldroyd is the first BYU All-American kicker since Matt Payne in 2004.
A native of Southlake, Texas, Oldroyd finished the 2020 season a perfect 13-for-13 on field goals to set a new BYU single-season field goal percentage record. More than half of his kicks came from at least 40 yards out, including three from over 50, which gave him more 50-yard field goals in a perfect season than any FBS kicker since 2004.
While sharing the top spot in nation with a perfect field goal percentage last year, Oldroyd also converted 60 of 62 extra points to finish No. 4 nationally for the most PAT conversions. His 99 total points scored in 2020 ranked No. 6 among kickers and No. 13 among all positions in the country.
Oldroyd already holds the BYU record for consecutive PAT conversions with 72 and enters 2021 ranked No. 2 in career field goal percentage (78.1%, 32 of 42) at BYU and No. 3 in career PAT percentage at 97.11% (101 of 104).
Joining Oldroyd on the list of candidates for the 2021 Groza Award is fellow 2020 finalist Will Reichard of Alabama as well as SMU senior Blake Mazza, who was a finalist in 2019 while at Washington State. Meanwhile, 2018 Groza winner Andre Szmyt, a senior from Syracuse, is another top candidate who has the chance to become just the second player to ever win the award multiple times, joining Sebastian Janikowski who won in 1998 and 1999.
Last year’s Groza winner, Jose Borregales, is now in the NFL with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
With schools playing such a varied number of games last season, this year’s watch list leans heavily on accuracy. In fact, all 16 FBS kickers returning who attempted 10 field goals and connected at 85 percent or better are represented on the list:
- Reichard (14, 100%), Oldroyd (13, 100%)
- Oklahoma State junior Alex Hale (13, 92.9%), Wyoming sophomore John Hoyland (13, 92.9%), Western Kentucky junior Brayden Narveson (13, 92.9%)
- UAB sophomore Matt Quinn (11, 91.7%)
- Auburn senior Anders Carlson (20, 90.9%), Indiana junior Charles Campbell (10, 90.9%)
- Nebraska super senior Connor Culp (13, 86.7%), Duke sophomore Charlie Ham (13, 86.7%), Louisville junior James Turner (13, 86.7%)
- LSU junior Cade York (18, 85.7%), Louisiana Tech sophomore Jacob Barnes (12, 85.7%), Kentucky super senior Mark Ruffolo (12, 85.7%)
- UTSA super senior Hunter Duplessis (17, 85%), and Missouri sophomore Harrison Mevis (17, 85%)
Even though last year’s season was shortened, more and more field goals are getting kicked from long distance. All six returning kickers who made at least three field goals from 50 yards or further were voted onto the watch list:
- York (6)
- Oklahoma junior Gabe Brkic (4)
- Oldroyd (3), Campbell (3), Mevis (3), and Georgia junior Jack Podlesny (3)
While the watch list highlights 30 of the best returning kickers in the country, the Groza Committee will be watching all FBS kickers throughout the season, and releasing a weekly “Stars of the Week” feature on www.lougrozaaward.com. All FBS kickers remain eligible to be selected as semifinalists.
Accomplishments are tabulated throughout the season and the Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award will announce its 20 semifinalists on Thursday, Nov. 4. From this list, a panel of more than 100 FBS head coaches, SIDs, media members, former Groza finalists, and current NFL kickers selects the top three finalists for the award, announced on Tuesday, Nov. 23. That same group then selects the national winner, who will be announced on Thursday, Dec. 9 during the Home Depot College Football Awards on ESPN.
The 30th Annual Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award, presented by the Orange Bowl Committee, recognizes the three finalists during a celebration in Palm Beach County, culminating with a gala awards banquet at West Palm Beach’s Kravis Center for the Performing Arts on Dec. 6.
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.
Select the following link to view the complete 2021 Lou Groza Award Preseason Watch List.
For more information on the Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award and to see the “Stars of the Week” throughout the season, please go to www.lougrozaaward.com. For even more updates on the best kicking performances throughout the season, follow @LouGrozaAward on Twitter.