Griffin Oakes Named to Lou Groza Watchlist

 Griffin Oakes won the Big Ten Kicker of the Year in 2015, now he is up for a national award. Image:

Griffin Oakes won the Big Ten Kicker of the Year in 2015, now he is up for a national award. Image:

IU Athletics

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Indiana redshirt junior

Griffin Oakes

has been named to the watch list for the 2016 Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award, the Palm Beach County Sports Commission announced today. Oakes is one of just three Big Ten kickers and 30 overall recognized on the list.

In 2015, Oakes became the first Hoosier named the Big Ten's akken-Andersen Kicker of the Year and the first IU kicker to earn first team All-Big Ten honors since Austin Starr (2007).

He hit 24-of-29 field goals (82.8 percent) and 53-of-57 extra points. Oakes set a single-season Indiana record in field goals and total points for a kicker (3rd overall with 125) and was second in PATs. He sits second in Big Ten single-season history in total points for a kicker and is tied for fifth in field goals.

The Greenwood, Ind., native finished first in the league in field goals (6th nationally) and first among kickers (T-6th), second among all players (T-15th), with 9.6 points per game, and second in field goal percentage (27th). He led the conference in touchbacks (T-10th), and ended second in touchback percentage (57.1, 21st) and kickoff average (62.9, 27th).

Oakes enters 2016 seventh with 37 field goals and 76 extra points on IU's career lists. He is 37-of-47 on field goals (78.7 percent) and 76-of-80 on extra points.

The Hoosiers open the 2016 campaign at Florida International on Thursday, Sept. 1 (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU), and kick off their seven-game home schedule against Ball State on Saturday, Sept. 10 (noon, ESPNEWS). Indiana also hosts Wake Forest (Sept. 24), Michigan State (Oct. 1, 8 p.m., BTN), Nebraska (Oct. 15, 3:30 p.m.), Maryland (Oct. 29), Penn State (Nov. 12) and Purdue (Nov. 26). Season tickets are available by clicking here, by phone at 1-866-IUSPORTS or in person at the Assembly Hall Ticket Office. IU's full schedule is available by clicking here.

While the watch list highlights 30 of the best returning kickers in the country, the Groza Committee will be watching all FBS kickers during the season, and releasing a weekly "Stars of the Week" feature on All FBS kickers remain eligible to be selected as semifinalists.

Accomplishments are tabulated throughout the season and the Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award will announce its 20 semifinalists on Thursday, Nov. 3. From this list, a panel of more than 100 FBS head coaches, SIDs, media members, former Groza finalists, and current NFL kickers selects the top three finalists for the award by Tuesday, Nov. 22. That same group then selects the national winner, who will be announced on Thursday, Dec. 8, during the Home Depot College Football Awards Show.

The Award is named for National Football League Hall of Fame kicker Lou "The Toe" Groza, who played 21 seasons with the Cleveland Browns. 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.