West Virginia University redshirt junior Casey Legg has been named a semifinalist for the prestigious Lou Groza Award, signifying the top kicker in college football as announced by The Palm Beach County Sports Commission.
Legg has connected on 14-of-15 field goal attempts this season, including 13 straight makes this season. He currently is ranked No. 8 nationally in field goals made per game (1.75) and No. 9 in field goal percentage (.933). Legg is No. 1 in the Big 12 in field goal percentage, No. 2 in field goals made and No. 2 in field goals made per game.
Legg was a walk-on when he arrived at WVU for his freshman season in 2018. He did not play football during his prep days at Cross Lanes Christian in the Charleston, West Virginia, area. The 2020 Academic All-Big 12 First Team member earned the Mountaineers’ starting kicker position this season after adding depth the past two years.
Only five of the 20 kickers have been semifinalists in previous seasons, though three of those have now earned the honor three years in a row: Oklahoma junior Gabe Brkic, Wake Forest junior Nick Sciba, and Nevada junior Brandon Talton. They’re joined by Missouri sophomore Harrison Mevis and LSU junior Cade York, semifinalists last season.
Though most of the names are new, the performances of these semifinalists are as strong as ever. Half of the list is comprised of all 10 FBS kickers who have made more than 10 field goals while connecting at a 90% rate or better: Bowling Green senior Nate Needham (14/14), Appalachian State senior Chandler Staton (12/12), Mevis (11/11), Ohio State senior Noah Ruggles (11/11), West Virginia junior Casey Legg (14/15), Northern Illinois sophomore John Richardson (13/14), Sciba (13/14), UNLV senior Daniel Gutierrez (11/12), Hawaii sophomore Matthew Shipley (11/12) and Michigan senior Jake Moody (18/20). They’re joined by two other semifinalists still perfect on field goals with fewer attempts, inTexas Tech senior Jonathan Garibay (10/10) and USF junior Spencer Shrader (9/9).
In terms of sheer number of field goals, one semifinalist has a significant lead on the rest of the nation. Colorado State junior Cayden Camper’s 22 field goals are well ahead of fellow semifinalists Moody (18), Brkic (17) and Talton (17), who themselves are separated from the rest of the FBS at 15 or fewer.
Although a handful of families can be proud of producing two Groza semifinalists, for the first time ever a pair of brothers have made the list in the same season. Two-time semifinalist Harrison Mevis is joined by his older brother Andrew, a senior at Iowa State. The two have demonstrated some of the strongest legs in the country, with Harrison tied atop the national lead with nine field goals of 40 yards or longer, while Andrew is right behind with eight. Semifinalists will be voted on by a panel of more than 100 FBS head coaches, SIDs, media members, former Groza finalists, and current NFL kickers to select the three finalists. These finalists will be announced on November 23rd and honored at the 30th annual Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Awards Virtual Awards Celebration, streamed live on Dec. 8th on lougrozaaward.com. The same panel then selects the winner, who will be announced live on ESPN at the Home Depot College Football Awards on Thursday, Dec. 9th.
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 as well, Groza ushered in the notion that there should be a place on an NFL roster for a kicker.
Since the first Lou Groza Award was handed out in 1992, 28 finalists, including 16 winners, have gone on to appear in the NFL, earning 11 trips to the Pro Bowl and taking home six Super Bowls. That list includes 2021 NFL kickers Rodrigo Blankenship, Randy Bullock, Daniel Carlson Mason Crosby, Jake Elliott, Ka’imi Fairbairn, Graham Gano, Matt Gay, Zane Gonzalez, Dustin Hopkins, Younghoe Koo and Cairo Santos. For more information regarding the Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award, please visit LouGrozaAward.com, or follow @LouGrozaAward on Twitter for updates as they happen.
National College Football Awards Association
The Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA), which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. Founded in 1997, the NCFAA and its 25 awards now boast over 800 recipients, dating to 1935. Visit NCFAA.org and @NCFAA on Twitter to learn more about the association.
About the Palm Beach County Sports Commission
The Palm Beach County Sports Commission is a private, not-for-profit organization contracted by Palm Beach County to promote and market the County as a sports and sports tourism destination. The Commission brings sporting events and activities to the County, enhances economic impact, stimulates bed tax revenues (primarily in the off-season), and maximizes utilization of County facilities. The Commission offers a full range of event service support, corporate partnerships, sponsorships, and a local membership program that support its goals. Local, regional, national, and international marketing efforts are ongoing by the Commission with sports organizations and event owners. The Commission also produces sports-related programs for the residents of Palm Beach County including the annual Lou Groza Award program, the Palm Beach County Sports Hall of Fame, the Kids Fitness Festival of the Palm Beaches, and the annual Holiday Basketball Classic of the Palm Beaches.