What is the Lou Groza Award?

What is the Lou Groza Award? Taking a closer look at one of College Football's annual awards and the rich history of the award itself.

College football has some of the best traditions of any sport in America. Award season is one of the most honored traditions, as the best performers in the nation are honored with individual awards recognizing their year-long success on the gridiron.

One of those annual awards is the Lou Groza Award. Who can win, and what exactly is the Lou Groza Award?

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What is the Lou Groza Award?

The top placekicker in college football takes home the Lou Groza Award. The Lou Groza Award is named after former Ohio State Buckeye and Cleveland Browns kicker Lou Groza. Groza, oddly enough, also played offensive tackle – not a combination you see in modern-day football.

Lou Groza was nicknamed “The Toe” during his college and professional playing career. Groza earned the nickname due to the distance he could kick a field goal through the uprights. He could nail 50-yard field goals that most would not even attempt at the time.

Groza played 21 seasons for the Browns following his career at Ohio State. The Browns won the NFL championship in 1950, their first season in the league after they were absorbed by the AAFC. He led the NFL in field goals for several seasons, and Sporting News even recognized Groza as the NFL MVP in 1954.

Many college football purists attribute Groza with advancing placekicking and developing special teams as much as anyone. In 1992, the Palm Beach Sports Club Commission named the Lou Groza Award after the-now NFL Hall of Famer.

Who is given the Lou Groza Award?

The top placekicker in the nation wins the Lou Groza Award. Not to be confused with the top punter in college football – the Ray Guy Award.

Impress your friends at a cocktail party, and ask, “Who is the only two-time winner of the Lou Groza Award?” Florida State’s Sebastian Janikowski is the only kicker to take home the hardware twice.

Here are the previous winners of the Lou Groza Award:

  • 2022: Christopher Dunn, NC State Wolfpack
  • 2021: Jake Moody, Michigan Wolverines
  • 2020: Jose Borregales, Miami Hurricanes
  • 2019: Rodrigo Blankenship, Georgia Bulldogs
  • 2018: Andre Szmyt, Syracuse Orange
  • 2017: Matt Gay, Utah Utes
  • 2016: Zane Gonzalez, Arizona State Sun Devils
  • 2015: Ka’imi Fairbairn, UCLA Bruins
  • 2014: Brad Craddock, Maryland Terrapins
  • 2013: Robert Aguayo, Florida State Seminoles
  • 2012: Cairo Santos, Tulane Green Wave
  • 2011: Randy Bullock, Texas A&M Aggies
  • 2010: Dan Bailey, Oklahoma State Cowboys
  • 2009: Kai Forbath, UCLA Bruins
  • 2008: Graham Gano, Florida State Seminoles
  • 2007: Thomas Weber, Arizona State Sun Devils
  • 2006: Arthur Carmody, Louisville Cardinals
  • 2005: Alexis Serna, Oregon State Beavers
  • 2004: Mike Nugent, Ohio State Buckeyes
  • 2003: Jonathan Nichols, Ole Miss Rebels
  • 2002: Nate Kaeding, Iowa Hawkeyes
  • 2001: Seth Marler, Tulane Green Wave
  • 2000: Jonathan Ruffin, Cincinnati Bearcats
  • 1999: Sebastian Janikowski, Florida State Seminoles
  • 1998: Sebastian Janikowski, Florida State Seminoles
  • 1997: Martin Gramatica, Kansas State Wildcats
  • 1996: Marc Primanti, NC State Wolfpack
  • 1995: Michael Reeder, TCU Horned Frogs
  • 1994: Steve McLaughlin, Arizona Wildcats
  • 1993: Judd Davis, Florida Gators
  • 1992: Joe Allison, Memphis Tigers

When is the Lou Groza Award given out?

The Palm Beach County Sports Commission hosts an annual placekicker awards banquet to honor three finalists for the Lou Groza Award. The Commission selects the winner, but the winning selection is announced during the Home Depot College Football Awards show in early December.