WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Danny Hrapmann, David Ruffer and Blair Walsh, all finalists for previous Groza Awards, head the 30-player watch list released by the Palm Beach County Sports Commission. The only previous Groza winner to win the award twice is current Oakland Raider kicker Sebastian Janikowski, who received the honor in 1998 and 1999 while playing for Florida State.

Kickers on the Lou Groza Award Watch List were chosen based on statistics from the 2010 season and 2011 preseason expectations. Nine semifinalists are returning from 2010, including Michigan State junior Dan Conroy, who was twice the recipient of the national placekicker of the week award and whose 93.3 percent field-goal percentage was fifth in the nation in kicking accuracy. Duke senior Will Synderwine, a two-time Lou Groza Award semifinalist, is first among active kickers nationally in career field goals made per game (1.65) and third in career field goal percentage (86.4). Sophomore Ross Krautman of Syracuse, named a freshman All-American by multiple media outlets, lead the Big East in field goal accuracy by converting on 18 of his 19 field goal attempts.

The Big 12 leads all conferences with five kickers on the preseason watch list. The Big Ten, ACC and Big East each have four kickers on the list. The Groza Committee will be watching all FBS kickers during the season.

Accomplishments are tabulated throughout the season and 20 semifinalists are announced on Oct. 28. From that list, a panel of more than 300 experts selects the top three finalists for the award by Nov. 21. That same group then selects the national winner which will be announced Dec. 8 during the College Football Awards Show.

The 20th Annual Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award, presented by the Orange Bowl Committee, recognizes the three finalists in Palm Beach County, culminating with a gala awards banquet 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, Groza ushered in the notion that there should be a place on an NFL roster for a kicker.

2011 Lou Groza Award Watch List
Player School Player School
Michael Barbour East Carolina Dustin Hopkins Florida State
Casey Barth North Carolina Danny Hrapmann Southern Miss
Rob Beard Oregon Aaron Jones Baylor
Maikon Bonani South Florida Ross Krautman Syracuse
Randy Bullock Texas A&M Abel Perez San Diego State
Dan Conroy Michigan State Grant Ressel Missouri
Derek Dimke Illinois Bryson Rose Ole Miss
Ross Evans TCU David Ruffer Notre Dame
Mitch Ewald Indiana Jimmy Stevens Oklahoma
Trey Farquhar Idaho Will Synderwine Duke
Erik Folk Washington Dave Teggart Connecticut
Nate Freese Boston College Justin Tucker  Texas
Kevin Goessling Fresno State Blair Walsh Georgia
Jack Griffin Florida International Phillip Welch Wisconsin
Zach Hocker Arkansas Alex Zendejas Arizona