Andre Szmyt becomes third Syracuse football player to be on preseason honors watchlist

SYRACUSE, NY — With one final college football season ahead of him, Andre Szmyt has a chance to become a repeat Lou Groza Award winner since he was placed on the preseason watchlist Wednesday.

Szmyt won the award in 2018 following his redshirt freshman season with Syracuse Football. He was the first Orange player to win the award, presented annually by the Palm Beach County Sports Commission to the nation’s top field kicker.

The Lou Groza Award is named for Lou “The Toe” Groza of the NFL Hall of Fame, who played 18 seasons and won four championships with the Cleveland Browns. Groza helped establish the kicker’s role in NFL rosters. In college he played for Ohio State.

In the season in which he received the award, Szmyt cleared 30 of 34 field goal attempts and set a career high with a 54-yard field goal against rival Pittsburgh.

Only one other kicker has won the award twice: former Florida State kicker Sebastian Janikowski, who played 18 seasons in the NFL. Janikowski won the award in 1998 and 1999.

Michigan’s Jake Moody, the 2021 Groza receiver, is the only other past winner to be on the preseason watchlist. There are also three other past finalists on the list: Ohio State’s Noah Ruggles, BYU’s Jacob Oldroyd, and Alabama’s Will Reichard.

Szmyt is Syracuse’s most accurate kicker in program history. He has made 65 of 79 career field goal attempts and is the Orange’s all-time leading scorer. His career accuracy rate of 82.3% leads the nation for 40+ try kickers. Szmyt also took on kickoff duties last year, kicking 54 times for 3,193 yards.

With running back Sean Tucker and linebacker Mikel Jones both on multiple honors watchlists, Szmyt is now the third Syracuse player to have a chance to take home an individual trophy this season.

The 20 Lou Groza Award semifinalists will be announced on November 3rd. A panel of judges composed of over 100 coaches, members of the media, former Groza Awardees and more will then select three finalists for the award, which will be announced on November 22nd Winners of the Year 2022 on December 8th during the Home Depot College Football Awards on ESPN.

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