As the preseason national college football watch lists continue to roll out, the 12 Big is once again well-represented, with four place-kickers named to the 23rd annual Lou Groza watch list. The 15th annual Ray Guy Award watch list also feature three Big 12 punters.
Since 1992, the Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award has been given annually by the Orange Bowl Committee to the nation’s top place-kickers. The winner is determined by a voting panel of Division 1 head coaches, sports writers and sportscasters. The Big 12 contingency on the watch list include Jack Cantele (Kansas State), Michael Hunnicutt (Oklahoma), Jaden Oberkrom (TCU) and Ryan Bustin (Texas Tech). Hunnicutt and Bustin rank No. 2 and No. 3 nationally in field goals made last season by returning kickers with 24 and 23, respectively. The duo are also two of just 13 returning place kickers to make at least 85 percent of their field goal attempts last season (Hunnicutt: 88.9, Bustin: 85.2).
The Ray Guy Award is given annually to the best collegiate punter in the nation, as chosen by a national voting body of sports writers, college coaches, sports information directors and past Ray Guy Award winners. The Big 12 trio on the watch list includes Spencer Roth (Baylor), Trevor Pardula (Kansas) and Nick O’Toole (West Virginia). The Big 12 boasts four past Ray Guy Award winners, with the most recent being Oklahoma State’s Matt Fodge in 2008.
The Lou Groza Award committee will narrow its field to 20 semi-finalists in early November. Both the Ray Guy and Lou Groza Award winners will be announced at The Home Depot College Football Awards on Dec. 11.