Dec. 11, 2008
WALT DISNEY WORLD, Fla. – Florida State senior Graham Gano was awarded the nation’s top honor for a placekicker when he won the Lou Groza Award Thursday night on The Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards Show. Gano is the nation’s top placekicker and his award marks the third time a Seminole has won the award. No other university has more than one Groza winner.
“I am really speechless,” said Gano. “I want to thank the Palm Beach Sports Council and the Orange Bowl for this wonderful award. The two guys that were here with me are phenomenal kickers and to just be in the same class as them was an honor in itself.”
Gano was slated to become the first kicker in Bobby Bowden’s 33 years at Florida State to handle field goals, kick-offs and punts until two weeks before the start of the Seminoles’ season when he tore the meniscus in his right knee. After surgery and rehab, Gano was back on the field after missing just two games. He lined up for the first field goal attempt of his collegiate career from 52 yards. He missed that kick. It would be 55 days before he missed another field goal. Graham went on to make an FSU record 18 consecutive field goals including five straight attempts from 50 yards or more.
“This whole process was an experience I will remember for a lifetime and everyone involved with the Lou Groza Award does an amazing job of making this so memorable,” said Gano. “It is an honor to join the fraternity of Lou Groza Award winners.”
The senior from Pensacola, Fla., leads the nation in field goals and is the highest scoring kicker in all of the FBS. No kicker in America converted more attempts from 50 yards than Gano and he converted 24-of-26 field goal attempts overall. His only two misses came from 52 and 50 yards. Gano has as many 50-yard field goals in his career as FSU’s two-time Lou Groza Award winner Sebastian Janikowski and he is the only kicker in school history to convert over 90% of his field goals in a season.
Gano is in line to capture the ACC’s scoring title and has already been named a Rivals All-American and an All-ACC first team selection by ACSMA/AP, Phil Steele and Rivals as well.