Aug. 13, 2005
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -
University of Notre Dame senior placekicker/punter D.J. Fitzpatrick has been named to the Lou Groza Award Preseason Watch List as one of 30 preliminary candidates for the annual award recognizing college football's finest placekicker.
Fitzpatrick is entering his third season as the primary placekicker and punter for the Fighting Irish and is coming off an excellent season in 2004 in which he connected on 11-of-15 field goal attempts (73.3 percent), including a long of 47 yards. He scored 64 points on the season while making 34-of-35 conversion attempts. A proven performer in pressure situations, Fitzpatrick has made 22-of-28 attempts inside 50 yards for his career. He already ranks eighth in Notre Dame history for career field goals made with 23.
Kickers on the Lou Groza Award Preseason Watch List were chosen based on statistics from the 2004 season and 2005 preseason expectations. However, all Division I-A kickers are eligible for consideration for the award. A panel of more than 300 experts votes on the award, including Division I-A head coaches, sportswriters and sportscasters, conference representatives, professional kickers and all previous Groza Award finalists.
The 20 semi-finalists for the Lou Groza Award will be announced on Monday, October 31, 2005, with the naming of the three finalists two weeks later on Monday, November 14, 2005. The three finalists are recognized during the Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award Banquet and Silent Auction on Tuesday, December 6, 2005, at the Palm Beach Gardens Marriott and the winner is announced on Thursday, December 8, 2005 during the ESPN Home Depot College Football Award Show in Orlando, Florida.
The award, now in its 14th year, is named for National Football League (NFL) Hall-of-Fame kicker Lou 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. Nicknamed "The Toe," Groza helped usher in the idea that a player could be used exclusively for kicking.