Nevada placekicker Brandon Talton was one of 30 players to be named to the preseason watch list for the Lou Groza Award, it was announced Wednesday. The Lou Groza Award is an award annually given to the nation’s top placekicker.
He was one of three Mountain West kickers to be named to the watch list. Matt Mercurio (San José State) and Matt Araiza (San Diego State) were the other two conference kickers selected. This marks the first preseason watch list honor of Talton’s career. The 5-foot-8 sophomore projects as arguably the conference’s best kicker and one of Nevada’s best players entering 2020.
Talton, who was named to the All-Mountain West second-team last year, had an impressive freshman season with the Wolf Pack. Earning the starting job in the last week of the offseason after walking-on in July, Talton hit 21-of-25 field goals — booting his first 13 through the uprights. His 21 made field goals are tied for third-most in a single season in program history and were the third-most in the Mountain West.
He was named the Mountain West Special Teams Player of the Week on three occasions — his most notable came after drilling a 56-yard game-winning field goal to beat Purdue in the season-opener. Talton’s 56-yarder was the second-longest field goal made by anyone in the conference last season and was tied for seventh-longest nationally. Talton was immediately placed on scholarship following the Purdue ballgame.
UNREAL FINISH!— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) August 31, 2019
Nevada true freshman Brandon Talton nails a 56-yard FG to stun Purdue on the final play of the game pic.twitter.com/ECnq7kPKR6
Game-winner from 56.— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) August 31, 2019
Life-changing night for @NevadaFootball freshman kicker Brandon Talton pic.twitter.com/50pCXcWO6u
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.
Here are list of Wolf Pack players to garner preseason watch list honors:
- Dom Peterson, DL - Chuck Bednarik Award, Outland Trophy, Nagurski Trophy
- Toa Taua, RB - Doak Walker Award
- Elijah Cooks, WR - Biletnikoff Award
- Brandon Talton, K - Lou Groza Award