West Palm Beach, FL. -- The Palm Beach County Sports Commission has released its 20 semi –finalists for the 2009 Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award presented by the FedEx Orange Bowl and Michigan State senior kicker Brett Swenson is among the 20 semifinalist.
Swenson became Michigan State's all time leader in field goals and points scored, surpassing previous record holder Dave Rayner who played at MSU from 2001-04.
These twenty place-kickers have all excelled throughout the season in earning their places as semifinalists.
This year’s list of candidates for the 18th annual Award is led by 2008 semi-finalist Leigh Tiffin, a frequent “Star of the Week” selection who has earned SEC Special Teams player of the week recognition during the season. Tiffin is the only 2008 semi-finalist to make the final twenty this season.
At this writing, Tiffin and UCLA junior Kai Forbath were tied for the national lead in field goals made with twenty each. The only candidate among the final twenty who has yet to miss a kick, field goal or PAT, is Craig Ratanamorn, a senior from Marshall University. He’s been successful on 11 of 11 field goal tries and all 22 of his extra point attempts.
The honor for the longest field goal among the semi-finalists belongs to University of Florida sophomore Caleb Sturgis who connected from 56 yards against Georgia this year. Also included on the list is Georgia’s Blair Walsh who is a perfect 3 for 3 on attempts of 50 yards or longer.
Semi-finalists will be voted on by all Division 1 Head Coaches and SID's, along with national, regional and local football writers and others who will select the three (3) finalists. These finalists will be honored at the Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Awards Banquet on December 8 in West Palm Beach, FL. The winner will be announced live on the nationally televised Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards Show on the evening of December 10, 2009.
The award is named in honor of one of the all-time great kickers in football history, Lou Groza. Groza played 21 seasons for the Cleveland Browns setting numerous franchise records, including most games played, most points scored, and an amazing 107 consecutive games in which he scored a point. The 1,608 career points he scored is still a Browns' franchise record, and he ranks third all-time in league. Groza was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1974.
Past Groza finalists include current NFL kickers, Nate Kaeding, Sebastian Janikowski, Mike Nugent, Martin Gramatica, Jason Elam and Mason Crosby.