Oakes named to Lou Groza Award Watch List #iufb

Plenty of eyes will be focused on Griffin Oakes’ right leg this fall.

The Indiana kicker found himself in select company on Thursday, earning a spot on the Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award Watch List. The Palm Beach County Sports Commission announced the full list, including Oakes as one of only three Big Ten kickers and 30 overall.

Oakes is already widely regarded as the Big Ten’s best kicker. Last season, he became the first Hoosier to earn the conference’s Bakken-Andersen Kicker of the Year award. Oakes was also the first Indiana kicker to receive All-Big Ten First Team honors since Austin Starr in 2007.

Since seizing the kicking duties early in the 2014 season, Oakes has been a reliable threat for IU. He connected on 24 of his 29 field goal attempts (82.8 percent) and 53 of his 57 extra-point opportunities as a sophomore last fall, setting an Indiana single-season record in field goals and total points for a kicker with 125.

And when he did struggle, Oakes refused to let his lapses linger.

He missed two extra point attempts and a 42-yard field goal try in IU’s 52-26 loss at Michigan State on Oct. 24 then had an extra week to sit on those mistakes due to the ensuing bye. But Oakes was back to form across IU’s final five games, hitting 14 of his 17 field goal tries during that stretch.

For the year, he was 9-for-9 inside 29 yards, 9-for-11 between 30 and 39 yards, 5-for-7 within 40 and 40 yards and 1-for-2 from 50-plus yards. Oakes’ longest of the season was a 51-yard field goal against Michigan on Nov. 14.

In two seasons as IU’s primary kicker, Oakes is 37-for-47 on field goal tries (78.7 percent) and 76-for-80 on extra points.

Other Big Ten kickers included on the watch list include Nebraska’s Drew Brown and Minnesota’s Ryan Santoso. The Orange Bowl Committee will honor three finalists at a banquet on Dec. 5.

One comment

  1. Oakes has a great leg but needs to be more accurate this year. It is good to see another IUFB player get noticed before the season starts. I saw Oakes 58 yd FG and it had plenty of room as it went through the goalpost. I hope he has a great year this year.

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