Five Mountain West Kickers Named to Lou Groza Award Watchlist
John Baron II, Wyatt Bryan, Bryce Crawford, Dominik Eberle and Evan Pantels are among college football’s best kickers this preseason.
Is 2018 the Year of the Kicker in the Mountain West?
Watchlist season continues this morning with the release of the Lou Groza Award watchlist. Given annually to the nation’s best kicker, five from the Mountain West were named on this year’s preseason list.
The list is headlined by Utah State’s Dominik Eberle, who was a Lou Groza finalist last fall. On the year, he finished 18-of-24 on field goal attempts and 5-of-9 on kicks of 40 yards or more. His 101 points last year is tops among returning Mountain West kickers.
San Diego State’s John Baron II, a Groza semifinalist in 2016, continued as a reliable weapon for the Aztecs by connecting on 12-of-15 attempts, finishing third in the conference with 88 points.
Colorado State’s Wyatt Bryan racked up 98 points for the Rams in 2017, a significant reason why he was a Groza semifinalist last fall. He was 5-of-6 on kicks of 40-plus yards, including two from beyond 50, and 15-of-18 overall.
Bryce Crawford stayed busy last fall as San Jose State’s kicker, but the big-legged senior made the most of many difficult opportunities. He made 14-of-17 on field goal attempts, including 5-of-8 from 50 or more yards, one of just two FBS kickers to connect on that many attempts from such a distance.
UNLV’s Evan Pantels started in just nine games last fall but handled the fourth-most field goal attempts in the Mountain West, finishing the year 17-of-22 overall and 6-of-10 from 40 or more yards. Just two FBS kickers were busier on a per-game basis in 2017.
Last year’s Lou Groza Award winner was Utah’s Matt Gay.