Maybe I am a bit biased, but I think that, hands-down, the winner of the 2012 Lou Groza Award for the best placekicker in college football is Dustin Hopkins.  A senior for the Noles, Dustin has been the kicker here for four years (he replaced Graham Gano as a freshman after Gano won the Groza Award in 2008 and went to the NFL).

Putting his career records aside, although being the all-time leading scorer among kickers in college football history and being tied for the most career field goals made (87, and the record will be his alone after this weekend most likely) should count for something, let’s just look at his numbers from this season alone.

For 2012, Dustin is 24-for-28 in field goal attempts, with a long of 56.  Included in those figures is that he is a perfect 5-for-5 in attempts over 50 yards.  Outstanding.  He is 58-for-59 on extra point attempts for a total of 130 points this year.  Unreal.

If that is not enough, let’s not overlook the impact he has on the defense.  How can a kicker impact a defense, you ask?  I am glad you did.  Dustin has teed the ball up for a kickoff 95 times this season, and has recorded 40 touchbacks.  His average kickoff travels 62.9 yards.  Compared to FSU opponents who have kicked off 41 times with 10 touchbacks and an average of 58.7 yards per kickoff, the difference in noticeable.  If not for the rule change this year that brings a touchback out to the 25 yard line, I am fairly certain Dustin would have a higher number of touchbacks this year.

There is good news.  You can help Dustin win the award by going to the Lou Groza Award website (right here) and voting for Dustin.  If he wins, he will join Sebastian Janikowski (1998 and 1999) and Graham Gano (2008) as winners, and give the Noles 4 Groza Awards in the trophy case (no other school has won more than one, but with the other two finalists this year, Cairo Santos and Caleb Sturgis, representing schools that had a previous winner, Tulane and Florida respectively, there is a chance that FSU will no longer stand alone as the only school with multiple wins).  Voting only takes a second, so go ahead and vote already.


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