University of Louisville placekicker Blanton Creque is one of 30 student-athletes named to the 2017 Lou Groza Award preseason watch list as announced by the Palm Beach County Sports Commission on Wednesday morning.
The award, presented to the nation’s best placekicker, 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.
Taking over as the starting kicker in the fourth game of the 2016 season, Creque proved to be an excellent addition to the special teams unit, going 16-of-19 on field goal attempts — tied for the third-most made field goals made in a season at Louisville.
The Shelbyville, Ky., native’s 84.2 field goal percentage last year ranked third in the Atlantic Coast Conference, while his 87 points scored ranked 14th in the league overall.
As a redshirt freshman last season, Creque had three contests of hitting three or more field goals in a game, notably tying the school record by hitting four in a win over NC State. He booted three field goals in a loss to LSU in the Citrus Bowl – connecting on a career-long 47-yarder in the 29-9 defeat.
Accomplishments are tabulated throughout the season and the Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award will announce its 20 semifinalists on Thursday, November 2nd. 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 by Tuesday, November 21st. That same group then selects the national winner, who will be announced on Thursday, December 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 December 4th.