UK kicker makes Groza Award watch list

Kentucky kicker Austin MacGinnis boots a 51-yard field goal to win in the second half of an NCAA college football game against Mississippi State, Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016, in Lexington, Ky. (AP Photo/David Stephenson)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - University of Kentucky senior Austin MacGinnis is among the 30 kickers selected on Wednesday morning to the preseason watch list for the Lou Groza Award, which is presented to the top kicker in the country.

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.

Last season MacGinnis made 16 of 19 field goal attempts and hit two game-winning field goals in the final seconds to help UK land a bowl bid. His 47-yard field goal with 12 seconds left at No. 11 Louisville marked his second game-winning kick of the season after he had earlierin the season made a 51-yard field goal as time expired for a 40-38 win over Mississippi State.

While the Watch List highlights 30 of the best returning kickers in the country 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. 2nd. From this list, a panel of more than 100 FBS head coaches, SIDs, media members, former Groza finalists, and current NFL kickers select the top three finalists for the award by Tuesday, Nov. 21st. That same group then selects the national winner, who will be announced on Thursday, Dec. 7th during the Home Depot College Football Awards Show.

The 26th 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 on Dec. 4th.

The watch list for the Ray Guy Award presented to the nation's top punter was also announced on Wednesday, but no punters with area college ties were selected.

The number of eligible candidates for this season will grow when the award opens nominations in September. The complete list of candidates will be released on Oct. 31. In early November, the Ray Guy Award committee will meet to select the ten semifinalists, who will be announced on Nov. 16.

A national body of Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) sports information directors, media representatives, and previous Ray Guy Award winners will then vote for the top three finalists to be announced on Nov. 21. After the finalists are named, the voting body will cast ballots again to select the nation’s top punter. The winner will be announced live during The Home Depot College Football Awards airing on ESPN on Dec. 7.

The National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA) which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football, are unveiling their preseason watch lists over a 12-day period this month. Seventeen of the association's 23 awards select a preseason watch list and the NCFAA has spearheaded a coordinated effort to promote each award's preseason candidates.

Following is the entire 2017 preseason watch list calendar:

  • Monday July 10: Bednarik Award / Maxwell Award
  • Tuesday July 11: Mackey Award / Rimington Trophy
  • Wednesday July 12: Lou Groza Award / Ray Guy Award
  • Thursday July 13: Bronko Nagurski Trophy / Outland Trophy
  • Friday July 14: Jim Thorpe Award
  • Monday July 17: Butkus Award / Paul Hornung Award
  • Tuesday July 18: Biletnikoff Award / Wuerffel Trophy
  • Wednesday July 19: Davey O'Brien Award
  • Thursday July 20: Doak Walker Award
  • Friday July 21: Walter Camp Award
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