Clemson junior Jad Dean was named one of 20 semifinalists for the Lou Groza Award, given to the nation's top placekicker. The Palm Beach (FL) County Sports Institute announced the semifinalists Monday afternoon.
Dean, one of five semifinalists from the ACC, has made 20 of 25 field goals (80%) this season. He is second in the nation in field goals per game (2.2) and fourth in the country in kick scoring points per game (9.7). The 9.7 points per game also leads the ACC in scoring among all positions. He needs just three field goals to tie Obed Ariri's Tiger record of 23 field goals in 1980.
In the 2005 season opener against #17 Texas A&M, Dean made a school-record six field goals in six attempts in Clemson's 25-24 win. The final field goal was a 42 yarder with just two seconds left to give the Tigers the dramatic victory. His 19 points in the game set a school record for kick-scoring points. He also was named national player-of-the-week by USAToday.com for that performance.
Dean has made 32 of 40 career field goals, as the 80-percent mark is the eighth-best mark in the nation among current placekickers. Dean, a First-Team Academic All-ACC selection in 2004, has also kicked at least three field goals in six different games. The Greenwood, SC native is the second Tiger to be a semifinalist for the award, joining Aaron Hunt, who made the list in 2003. Hunt (2000-03) is Clemson's all-time leading scorer.
Joining Dean among the semifinalists include ACC kickers John Deraney (N.C. State), Connor Hughes (Virginia), Brandon Pace (Virginia Tech), and Sam Swank (Wake Forest). Also named to the list are Mike Barrow (Idaho), Dan Beardall (Utah), Kenny Byrd (New Mexico), Brandon Coutu (Georgia), Mason Crosby (Colorado), Brad DeVault (Tulsa), John Huston (Ohio State), Robert Lee (East Carolina), Darren McCaleb (Southern Mississippi), Garrett Rivas (Michigan), Jason Robbins (Toledo), Kyle Schlicher (Iowa), Reagan Schneider (Texas-El Paso), Alex Serna (Oregon State), and Clint Stitser (Fresno State).
Voters for the award include Division I-A head coaches, sportswriters, sportscasters, conference representatives, professional kickers, and previous Lou Groza Award finalists. The three finalists for the award will be announced on November 21 and will be honored at the 14th Annual Lou Groza Collegiate Placekicker Award Dinner on December 6 at the Palm Beach Gardens Marriott. The 2005 Lou Groza Award winner will be announced on December 8 during the ESPN Home Depot College Football Award Show in Orlando, FL.
The award, now in its 14th year, is named for NFL Hall of Fame kicker Lou Groza, who played 21 seasons with the Cleveland Browns. Groza won four NFL titles with Cleveland and was named NFL Player-of-the-Year in 1954. Nicknamed "The Toe," he was one of the first players to truly make kicking an art-form, and he helped usher in to football the idea that a player could be used solely for kicking.
Dean Semifinalist for Groza Award
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