LARAMIE -- Wyoming freshman place-kicker John Hoyland is coming off a great season in 2020, and on Wednesday The Palm Beach County Sports Commission recognized Hoyland as one of the best kickers in the nation by naming him to the 2021 Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award Preseason Watch List.

The native of Broomfield, Colo., is one of only 30 place-kickers named to this year’s Groza Award Watch List.

He led the nation in field goals made per game in 2020 (2.17 per game), and he was one of the country’s most accurate kickers, making 13 of 14 field goals (92.9 percent) to rank No. 6 in the nation.  

Last season, he was one of only 32 freshmen nationally named to the 2020 Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) Freshman All-America team. He was the only place-kicker named to the team and was one of 17 true freshmen on the team. The other 15 players named to the 2020 squad were redshirt freshmen.

Hoyland earned 2020 Second Team All-Mountain West honors in voting by conference head coaches and media. He missed only one kick all last season and ranked No. 1 in the Mountain West and No. 6 in the nation in field-goal percentage (92.9 percent). In addition to making 13 of 14 field goals on the season, he was a perfect 16 of 16 in PATs.

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The true freshman also ranked No. 1 in the Mountain West and No. 19 in the nation in scoring among all players in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) at all positions, averaging 9.2 points per game. Hoyland ranked No. 5 in the Mountain West among all players at all positions in points responsible for, averaging 9.2 points per game. He led Wyoming in scoring, with 55 points. 

Hoyland was named the Mountain West Special Teams Player of the Week in his very first college game at Nevada in the 2020 season opener. He was a perfect 4 for 4 in field goals and 2 of 2 in PATs. He made a 42-yard field goal to send the game to overtime and hit a 38-yarder to give Wyoming the lead, 34-31, in overtime before the Pokes fell, 34-37. Hoyland was also a perfect 3 for 3 in field goals vs. New Mexico and was a perfect 3 of 3 in field goals vs. Boise State. He made at least one field goal in all six games in 2020.

While the Watch List highlights 30 of the best returning kickers in the country, the Groza Committee will be watching all FBS kickers throughout the season, and releasing a weekly “Stars of the Week” feature on www.lougrozaaward.com. All FBS kickers remain eligible to be selected as semifinalists.

Accomplishments are tabulated throughout the season and the Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award will announce its 20 semifinalists on Thursday, November 4th.  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, announced on Tuesday, Nov. 23. That same group then selects the national winner, who will be announced on Thursday, Dec. 9 during the Home Depot College Football Awards on ESPN.

The 30th 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 at West Palm Beach’s Kravis Center for the Performing Arts on Dec. 6. 

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.

Hoyland follows former Cowboy place-kicker Cooper Rothe, who was twice named to the Groza Award Watch List in 2018 and ‘19 and was one of three national finalists in 2018.

For more information on the Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award and to see the “Stars of the Week” throughout the season, please go to www.lougrozaaward.com.  For even more updates on the best kicking performances throughout the season, follow @LouGrozaAward on Twitter.

* University of Wyoming press release

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