Will the SEC feature the nation’s top kicker in 2016? If so, it will be the first time in a long time.
The SEC has not enjoyed a Lou Groza Award winner since former Ole Miss kicker Jonathan Nichols brought home the trophy in 2003.
Auburn kicker Daniel Carlson was a finalist for the award in 2015, but UCLA’s Ka’imi Fairbairn was voted as the winner. Texas A&M’s Randy Bullock won the award in 2011, but that was the season prior to the Aggies joining the league.
The 2016 preseason watch list for the award, which honors college football’s top kicker each season, was released on Thursday.
Four of the league’s kickers were included, with an explanation for the selection of each included:
Daniel Carlson, Auburn
“A finalist for the 2015 Lou Groza Award, Carlson’s four field goals from at least 50 yards are the most by any returning FBS kicker. That mark also set Auburn’s school record for kicks from long distance. Amidst his 23-FG season was a streak of 16 consecutive makes, another all-time Auburn record. He has made all 97 extra point attempts in his college career.”
Trent Domingue, LSU
“A 2015 Groza semifinalist, Domingue didn’t miss a field goal attempt until late November, opening the season with ten straight FGs as he made the most of his few opportunities. In fact, LSU was so busy scoring touchdowns that they even pulled the kicker into the fold, calling Domingue’s number on a 16-yard fake that gave the Tigers a 35-28 win over Florida.”
Elliott Fry, South Carolina
“A Groza semifinalist in 2014, Fry has been a starter since Day 1 at South Carolina and already owns the school’s career records for PATs, including a still-active 124 straight. He needs just 41 more points to become the all-time leading scorer in South Carolina history. One of nine returning FBS kickers who made at least two field goals from 50+ yards last year.”
Adam Griffith, Alabama
“Griffith’s 23 field goals are tied for 6th most by returning FBS kickers. A record-setting five of those came against rival Auburn, the most field goals ever in an Iron Bowl matchup. He added two PATs in that game to score 17 points, the second-highest single-game total in Alabama history.”