WVU's Lambert Prime Groza Candidate

Of all the West Virginia players named to preseason college football award watch lists this summer, Josh Lambert might have the best chance of actually bringing home the hardware.

A finalist for last year's award, Lambert will again battle Maryland's Brad Craddock and Florida State's Roberto Aguayo, along with 27 others, for the Lou Groza Award.

In 2014, Lambert hit 30-of-39 field goal attempts and was perfect on all 45 of his extra point tries. He set an NCAA record for hitting 16 field goals of 40 yards or more and tied the records for most games with two or more field goals made in a game (10) and most with three or more (6). His 30 field goals in 2014 tied the school record for most field goals hit in a season with Paul Woodside, who did it in 1982. Lambert also set the school’s kick scoring season record with 135 points last year. For his efforts, he earned All-Big 12 Conference honors by several organizations and was named All-American by four different groups. Lambert is one of four Big 12 kickers on this year's watch list.

The three former finalists are joined on the Watch List by a dozen other kickers who were named semifinalists last season, as well as by 15 new faces. Only five returning FBS kickers attempted at least 10 kicks and made at least 90% of them, and all are on the Watch List: Craddock (94.7), Kansas State sophomore Matthew McCrane (94.7), Oregon sophomore Aidan Schneider (91.7), two-time semifinalist Duke senior Ross Martin (90.5) and Aguayo (90.0).

The Watch List also includes all 10 returning kickers who made more than 20 field goals at a rate of 75% or higher: Lambert (30), Aguayo (27), two-time semifinalist Utah junior Andy Phillips (23), Bowling Green senior Tyler Tate (23), returning semifinalist Virginia senior Ian Frye (22), two-time semifinalist Arizona State junior Zane Gonzalez (22), Oklahoma State junior Ben Grogan (22), two-time semifinalist TCU senior Jaden Oberkrom (22), and returning semifinalist Clemson senior Ammon Lakip (21).

While the Watch List highlights 30 of the best returning kickers in the country, all FBS kickers are eligible for this year’s award. In fact, two of the past three winners were not on that year’s initial Watch List. The Groza Committee will be watching all FBS kickers during the season, and releasing a weekly “Stars of the Week” feature.

Semifinalists for the Lou Groza Award will be announced November 5, 2015, while the three finalists will be unveiled November 23, 2015. The winner of the 2015 Lou Groza Award will be announced as part of the Home Depot College Football Awards Show held on December 10, 2015.

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