Bennett, a 5-8, 159-pound sophomore from Athens, was among 30 candidates named this week by the Palm Beach County Sports Commission. According to the commission, the kickers on the watch list were chosen based on last year's performances in addition to preseason expectations.
After walking on to the squad last year, Bennett turned in a solid campaign for the Bulldogs, converting 13 of 14 field-goal attempts, which was the best in the SEC among regular placekickers. In addition, his success rate of 92.86 percent broke the school single-season record formerly held by Rex Robinson (1978, 88.24 percent).
Bennett, who eventually earned a scholarship from Georgia, came from nearby Athens Academy where he had a distinguished career punctuated by an outstanding senior year in which he made all 12 field goal attempts.
Voting for the Lou Groza Award is done by more than 300 Division I coaches, national media members, previous winners and NFL kickers. Twenty semifinalists for the award will be announced in late October and several weeks later the list will be pared down to three finalists.
Presented by the FedEx Orange Bowl, the award will be given out at a awards banquet on Tuesday, Dec. 4, at the Sheraton at CityPlace in West Palm Beach, Fla.
Photo: Dean Legge/DawgPost.com