WVU’s Casey Legg Nails Spot On Groza Semifinalist List

West Virginia kicker Casey Legg boots a field goal from the hold of Graeson Malashevich (89)

West Virginia University redshirt junior Casey Legg has been named a semifinalist for the prestigious Lou Groza Award, awarded to the top kicker in college football as announced by The Palm Beach County Sports Commission.

Legg has connected on 14-of-15 field goal attempts this season, including 13 straight makes at one point. He currently is ranked No. 8 nationally in field goals made per game (1.75) and No. 9 in field goal percentage (.933). Legg is No. 1 in the Big 12 in field goal percentage, No. 2 in field goals made and No. 2 in field goals made per game.

Legg was a walk-on when he arrived at WVU for his freshman season in 2018. He did not play football during his prep days at Cross Lanes Christian in the Charleston, West Virginia, area. The 2020 Academic All-Big 12 First Team member earned the Mountaineers’ starting kicker position this season after adding depth the past two years.

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Only five of the 20 kickers have been semifinalists in previous seasons, though three of those have now earned the honor three years in a row: Oklahoma junior Gabe Brkic, Wake Forest junior Nick Sciba, and Nevada junior Brandon Talton. They’re joined by Missouri sophomore Harrison Mevis and LSU junior Cade York, semifinalists last season.

Though most of the names are new, the performances of these semifinalists are as strong as ever. Half of the list is comprised of all 10 FBS kickers who have made more than 10 field goals while connecting at a 90% rate or better: Bowling Green senior Nate Needham (14/14), Appalachian State senior Chandler Staton (12/12), Mevis (11/11), Ohio State senior Noah Ruggles (11/11),  Legg (14/15), Northern Illinois sophomore John Richardson (13/14), Sciba (13/14), UNLV senior Daniel Gutierrez (11/12), Hawaii sophomore Matthew Shipley (11/12) and Michigan senior Jake Moody (18/20). They’re joined by two other semifinalists still perfect on field goals with fewer attempts, in Texas Tech senior Jonathan Garibay (10/10) and USF junior Spencer Shrader (9/9).

West Virginia kicker Casey Legg observes the action

In terms of sheer number of field goals, one semifinalist has a significant lead on the rest of the nation. Colorado State junior Cayden Camper’s 22 field goals are well ahead of fellow semifinalists Moody (18), Brkic (17) and Talton (17), who themselves are separated from the rest of the FBS at 15 or fewer.

Semifinalists will be voted on by a panel of more than 100 FBS head coaches, SIDs, media members, former Groza finalists, and current NFL kickers to select the three finalists. These finalists will be announced on November 23rd and honored at the 30th annual Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Awards Virtual Awards Celebration, streamed live on Dec. 8th on lougrozaaward.com. The same panel then selects the winner, who will be announced live on ESPN at the Home Depot College Football Awards on Thursday, Dec. 9th.

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.