SENIOR KICKER ONE OF NATION’S TOP KICKERS
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – Middle Tennessee junior place-kicker Canon Rooker has been named to the 2017 Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award Watch List, as announced by the Palm Beach County Sports Commission Wednesday.
Rooker, the son of Robert and Missy Rooker, made the most of an impressive junior season when he set the Middle Tennessee record for most points by a kicker in a single season with 112. The sure-footed Rooker connected on 16-of-19 field goal tries. The 16 field goals went down as the fourth-most in school history.
Rooker’s accuracy was indeed a benefit, but he did his best work against C-USA competition. Rooker was a perfect 10-of-10 on field goal tries against league members. His long for the season was 46 yards. He was 11-of-13 from 30 yards or more. Rooker also was 64-of-66 on extra-point attempts.
“I am honored to be mentioned along with some of the nation’s top kickers,” Rooker said. “Competition for the place-kicking position was pretty strong in the preseason, and I believe that helped me. I was pleased that I was able to make some big kicks and help the team. We have put in a hard work in the offseason, and we want to see that carry over into the 2017 season.”
Rooker was among 14 kickers who attempted at least 15 field goals and connected on 84 percent or better with an 84.2 success rate. He is one of 30 players on the initial Groza Watch List. Rooker was a first-team All C-USA selection as a junior in 2016. He had nine consecutive field goal makes during one stretch which tied the second-longest such streak in school history.
Accomplishments are tabulated throughout the season and the Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award will announce its 20 semifinalists November 2. 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 November 21. That same group then selects the national winner, who will be announced Dec. 7 during the Home Depot College Football Awards Show.
The 26th Annual Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award, presented by the Orange Bowl Committee, recognizes the three finalists during a celebration in Palm Beach County, culminating with a gala awards banquet on December 4.
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.