MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia University junior kicker Evan Staley has been named to the Lou Groza Award and the Wuerffel Trophy Watch Lists as announced by their organizations.
Staley handled the Mountaineers’ field goal, extra point and kickoff duties for the 2018 season after taking over in the Oklahoma State game during the 2017 season. He has currently hit 12 straight field goals, dating back to the Baylor game on Oct. 25, 2018. He connected on 16-of-20 field goal attempts last season and 22-of-27 career attempts. He hit a career-long 49 yard field goal against Kansas and Syracuse in 2018 and was 9-of-13 from longer than 40 yards. He also finished with 74 kickoffs for 4,945 yards, averaging 56.2 yards per kickoff attempt and had 24 of his kicks result in touchbacks.
Last year, Staley ranked No. 2 in the Big 12 in overall scoring, No. 2 by kickers only and No. 25 nationally. He was No. 3 in the Big 12 in field goal percentage. He finished with a career-best 4-of-4 performance against Syracuse in the Camping World Bowl. That performance was a Camping World Bowl record and his 49-yarder also was a bowl record and tied Paul Woodside’s WVU bowl record.
Staley is one of three kickers from the Big 12 Conference to earn a spot on the list, joining Cameron Dicker (Texas), and Blake Lynch (Kansas State). He is also one of six Big 12 players earning a spot on the Wuerrfel Trophy Watch List: Travis Bruffy (OL, Texas Tech), Sam Ehlinger (QB, Texas), Denzel Goolsby (DB, Kansas State), Kelton Hollins (OL, TCU) and Ray Lima (DL, Iowa State).
Moving from accuracy to distance, the Groza Watch List also encompasses the only nine returning kickers who made eight or more field goals from at least 40 yards out: Bass (10), Eberle (9), Staley (9), Blankenship (8), Charlotte sophomore Jonathan Cruz (8), Dicker (8), Pitt junior Alex Kessman (8), McCann (8), and Troy junior Tyler Sumpter (8).
Accomplishments are tabulated throughout the season and the Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award will announce its 20 semifinalists on Thursday, Nov. 7. 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, announced on Tuesday, Nov. 26. That same group then selects the national winner, who will be announced on Thursday, Dec. 12 during the Home Depot College Football Awards Show on ESPN.
The 28th Annual Lou Groza Collegiate Placekicker Award, presented by the Orange Bowl, recognizes the three finalists during a celebration in Palm Beach County, culminating with a gala awards banquet at West Palm Beach’s Kravis Center for the Performing Arts on Dec. 9.
The Wuerffel Trophy, known as “College Football’s Premier Award for Community Service,” is presented each February in Fort Walton Beach. Named after 1996 Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Danny Wuerffel from the University of Florida, the Wuerffel Trophy is awarded to the FBS player that best combines exemplary community service with athletic and academic achievement.
The formal announcement of the 2019 recipient will be made at the National Football Foundation’s festivities in New York City on December 10. The presentation of the 2019 Wuerffel Trophy will occur at the 51st All Sports Association Awards Banquet on Feb. 14, 2020 in Fort Walton Beach.
Cover Photo Credit: Shanna Rose, BGS
Press Release Credit: WVU Athletics Communications