University of Louisville placekicker Blanton Creque was one of 30 kickers named to the Lou Groza Award watch list, the Palm Beach County Sports Commission announced Tuesday.
The honor, presented to the nation’s top placekicker, is named for National Football League Hall of Fame kicker Lou “The Toe” Groza, who played 21 seasons with the Cleveland Browns
Creque, a semifinalist for the award a year ago, had a breakthrough season as a sophomore. He connected on 17-of-20 field goal attempts and 58-of-59 extra points, capping the season with 109 points. Creque’s 17 field goals were the third most in school history.
The Shelbyville, Ky., native converted 85.0 percent of his attempts last season – the third-highest mark in school history – and was good on 13-of-16 attempts beyond 30 yards, including a career-long 48-yarder against NC State.
A redshirt junior, Creque is one of three kickers from the Atlantic Coast Conference on the watch list, joining Florida State’s Ricky Aguayo and Clemson’s Greg Huegel.
For his career, Creque has made 33-of-39 field goals, an 84.6 percent conversion rate, which stands as the top mark in school history. His 33 made field goals are the sixth most in school history, and he stands fifth in points by a kicker with 196.
The 27th Annual Lou Groza Collegiate Placekicker Award, presented by the Orange Bowl, recognizes the three finalists during a celebration in Palm Beach County, Florida. It culminates with a gala awards banquet at West Palm Beach’s Kravis Center for the Performing Arts on Dec. 3.
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.
by Rocco Gasparro