2012 First Look: Lou Groza & Ray Guy
Oklahoma State PK Quinn Sharp
Oklahoma State PK Quinn Sharp
Posted Mar 8, 2012

The way-too-early first look at the 2012 awards: Lou Groza & Ray Guy

2012 Spring Football    

First Look: The Awards

2012 Spring Preview: First Look At The Awards
- Heisman, Maxwell, & Davey O'Brien
- Outland, Bednarik, & Lombardi | Doak Walker & Biletnikoff
- Rimington & Mackey | Butkus & Thorpe | Lou Groza & Ray Guy

By Richard Cirminiello 
Follow Us ... #ColFootballNews  

It's way too early to start bandying about the names of the most prominent candidates for 2012's individual awards in college football, right? Whatever. It's March and wild speculation is one of the joys of the offseason. It's a chance to debate, mull over and contemplate next year's stars with complete impunity.

Will lists of contenders in January be spot on in December? Of course not. Will they make you think and pine for September? Probably. And that's really the objective here, whetting appetites, generating some interesting discussions and taking a sneak peek into what might be lurking ahead for the upcoming season.

Top Placekicker (Groza Award)

8. Chris Boswell, Rice
Boswell matched a school record with 17 field goals a year ago, earning recognition as a semifinalist for the Groza Award.

7. Andre Heidari, USC
An immediate starter out of high school, Heidari made the most of his chances, nailing 15-of-17 field goal attempts to earn All-Pac-12 First Team.

6. Chandler Catanzaro, Clemson
Catanzaro enjoyed a bounceback sophomore season, earning a spot on the Second Team All-ACC. He was clutch and consistent, hitting 9-of-12 attempts beyond 40 yards.

5. Drew Alleman, LSU
Though his chances were limited, Alleman proved to be one of the country's most accurate placekickers, hitting all but two of his 18 field goal tries a year ago.

4. Brett Maher, Nebraska
Also the Huskers punter, Maher was a smashing success in his first season as a regular, earning First Team All-Big Ten, and missing just three field goals … all from outside 50 yards.

3. Quinn Sharp, Oklahoma State
Sharp added placekicking to an already thick resume last fall, excelling as a dual-threat special teamer with 22 field goals on 25 attempts.

2. Dustin Hopkins, Florida State
More than just the team-leader in scoring, the strong-legged Hopkins was also a key weapon on kickoffs. He's connected on 22 field goals in each of the last two seasons.

1. Caleb Sturgis, Florida
One of the country's top kickers, Sturgis was a Groza Award finalist in 2011. He nailed 22-of-26 field goal attempts, including a season-long 55-yarder.

Top Punter (Ray Guy Award)

8. Bobby Cowan, Idaho
The linebacker-sized Vandal ranked second in the country in punting a year ago, becoming the rare player from Moscow to capture some All-America attention.

7. Ian Campbell, UTEP
A great pick-up out of junior college two years ago, Campbell has averaged more than 45 yards an attempt in each of his two years of action in El Paso.

6. Brett Maher, Nebraska
A revelation in Lincoln, Maher was named the Big Ten's top punter and placekicker … in his first full season of serious action.

5. Dylan Breeding, Arkansas
Breeding enjoyed a professional growth spurt as a junior, raising his average to 45.3 yards to earn the nod as the First Team All-SEC punter.

4. Jackson Rice, Oregon
Last year, Rice was a Ray Guy Award finalist. This year, he'd like to win it. He uncorks booming punts, and would have been among the nation's leaders in average had he had enough attempts to qualify.

3. Ryan Allen, Louisiana Tech
Allen returns for his senior season looking to become just the second punter to win the Ray Guy Award twice. While he averaged only 40.5 yards in 2011, he ranked second nationally in punts downed inside the 20-yard line.

2. Steven Clark, Auburn
Clark's skill set extends well beyond the obvious numbers, such as punting average. No, the Ray Guy Award finalist is more of a tactician, using hang time and great angles to ensure that opponents don't even get a chance to return his offerings.

1. Brad Wing, LSU
The unorthodox, left-footed Aussie was an underrated weapon in LSU's perfect regular season, ranking 11th nationally in punting, and consistently dictating field position with his booming punts.

2012 Spring Preview: First Look At The Awards
- Heisman, Maxwell, & Davey O'Brien
- Outland, Bednarik, & Lombardi | Doak Walker & Biletnikoff
- Rimington & Mackey | Butkus & Thorpe | Lou Groza & Ray Guy