Photo by Mike Schumann / The Daily Hoosier

IU Football: National Recognition Rolling in for Indiana’s Justus and Whitehead

Indiana’s specialists have played a key role in the Hoosiers’ first winning season since 2007, and national recognition is now following for fifth year seniors Logan Justus and Haydon Whitehead.

For the second straight year, IU kicker Justus is one of 20 finalists for the Lou Groza Award, and he was also nominated for the Burlsworth Trophy which is given to former walk-ons that go on to perform at a high level.

Justus has made all 12 of his field goal attempts and 34 of 35 extra points for the 2019 season.  He is the most accurate field goal kicker in the history of the IU program.

For the third straight season IU punter Whitehead has been nominated for the Ray Guy Award.

Whitehead is averaging a career-high 41.9 yards per punt and he has landed an FBS-best 36.1 percent of his punts inside the 10-yard line in this season.

Below are the full releases from IU Athletics via iuhoosiers.com.

Justus a Groza Award Semifinalist for Second-Straight Year

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Indiana fifth-year senior Logan Justus is one of 20 semifinalists for the 2019 Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award presented by the Orange Bowl, the Palm Beach County Sports Commission released on Thursday morning.

Justus is a semifinalist for the second-consecutive year and one of three past semifinalists vying for this season’s award along with Georgia senior Rodrigo Blankenship and Arkansas senior Connor Limpert.

The McCordsville, Ind., native is one of just seven kickers to hit all of his field goal attempts in 2019. IU’s all-time field goal percentage leader is perfect in 12 attempts and has made 34 of his 35 extra point tries (97.1 percent).

Justus, whose 12-straight makes are second in program history (Austin Starr – 15 in 2007), has connected on 19 of his last 20, is second in the Big Ten in field goals made (T-28th nationally) and is fifth in scoring among all players (7.8).

The left-footer, who was named a candidate for the Burlsworth Trophy on Thursday, sits 27-of-30 in his career (90.0) and 66-of-68 on PATs (97.1), good for 147 career points. His 27 field goals and 66 extra points are ninth on the program’s all-time list.

Earlier this year, Justus collected his second-career Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week honor and his second-career Groza Award Star of the Week recognition following the Hoosiers season-opening win over Ball State.

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 Nov. 25 and honored at the 28th annual Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Awards Banquet on Dec. 9 in Palm Beach County. The same panel then selects the winner, who will be announced live on ESPN at the Home Depot College Football Awards Show on Thursday, Dec. 12.

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.

Since the first Lou Groza Award was handed out in 1992, 27 finalists, including 15 winners, have gone on to appear in the NFL, earning 10 trips to the Pro Bowl and taking home six Super Bowls. That list includes 2019 NFL kickers Dan Bailey, Randy Bullock, Daniel Carlson, Mason Crosby, Jake Elliott, Ka’imi Fairbairn, Graham Gano, Matt Gay, Zane Gonzalez, Dustin Hopkins, Mike Nugent, and Cairo Santos.

For more information regarding the Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award, please visit LouGrozaAward.com, or follow @LouGrozaAward on Twitter for updates as they happen.

National College Football Awards Association
The Lou Groza Award is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA), which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. Founded in 1997, the NCFAA and its 25 awards now boast over 800 recipients, dating to 1935. Visit ncfaa.org to learn more about the association.

About the Palm Beach County Sports Commission
The Palm Beach County Sports Commission is a private, not-for-profit organization contracted by Palm Beach County to promote and market the County as a sports and sports tourism destination. The Commission brings sporting events and activities to the County, enhances economic impact, stimulates bed tax revenues (primarily in the off-season), and maximizes utilization of County facilities. The Commission offers a full range of event service support, corporate partnerships, sponsorships and a local membership program that support its goals. Local, regional, national and international marketing efforts are ongoing by the Commission with sports organizations and event owners. The Commission also produces sports-related programs for the residents of Palm Beach County including the annual Lou Groza Award program, the Palm Beach County Sports Hall of Fame, and the Kids Fitness Festival of the Palm Beaches. For more information on the Palm Beach County Sports Commission, go to www.palmbeachsports.com.

Justus a Burlsworth Trophy Nominee

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Fifth-year senior Logan Justus is a nominee for the Burlsworth Trophy, given to the most outstanding football player in America who began his career as a walk-on and has shown outstanding performance on the field.

The trophy is named in honor of Brandon Burlsworth, former University of Arkansas walk-on and All-American offensive lineman. Each nominee must have begun his first season of participation with an FBS football program without financial aid of any kind from his university’s athletic department.

One of 20 semifinalists for the 2018 Lou Groza Award, Justus is one of just seven kickers to hit all of his field goal attempts in 2019. IU’s all-time field goal percentage leader has not missed a field goal in 12 attempts and has made 34 of his 35 extra point tries (97.1 percent).

Justus, whose 12-straight makes are second in program history (Austin Starr – 15 in 2007), has connected on 19 of his last 20, is second in the Big Ten in field goals made (T-28th nationally) and is fifth in scoring among all players (7.8).

The left-footer is one of 30 members on this year’s Groza Award Watch List, and he sits 27-of-30 in his career (90.0) and 66-of-68 on PATs (97.1), good for 147 career points. His 27 field goals and 66 extra points are ninth on the program’s all-time list.

“This award is about the journey, the incredibly challenging journey that all of these nominees have taken,” said Marty Burlsworth, CEO and founder of the Brandon Burlsworth Foundation and older brother of Brandon. “When you begin your college career as a Walk-On there are plenty of skeptics, those that think you can’t do it. This group of Burlsworth Trophy nominees have proven all the skeptics wrong. They have put in an immense about of work and overcame numerous obstacles to make their dreams come true.”

Without one D1 scholarship offer, Brandon Burlsworth walked on at the University of Arkansas in 1994. He became a three-year starter and was eventually named an All-American in 1998. Burlsworth was selected as the 63rd overall pick by the Indianapolis Colts in the 1999 NFL draft, but was tragically killed in a car accident 11 days later. The Burlsworth Foundation was created in his memory and supports the physical and spiritual needs of children, in particular those children who have limited opportunities.

The Brandon Burlsworth Foundation, in conjunction with Springdale Rotary Club, will host an awards ceremony on Dec. 9, 2019, in Springdale, Ark., to honor the three finalists and to announce the 2019 winner.

 

Whitehead Named Ray Guy Award Candidate

Photo by Mike Schumann / The Daily Hoosier

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Indiana punter Haydon Whitehead is a Ray Guy Award candidate for the third-straight season, the Augusta Sports Council and the award announced on Wednesday. The Ray Guy Award identifies the nation’s top FBS collegiate punter at The Home Depot College Football Awards on ESPN every year in December.

Whitehead has landed an FBS-high 36.1 percent (13-of-36) of his punts inside the 10-yard line in 2019. The fifth-year senior is averaging a career-high 41.9 yards with 17 inside the 20 (47.2 percent), 13 inside the 10 and three inside the 5, to go along with a career-best six 50-plus yarders, including a career-long 65-yarder.

He has dropped at least three punts inside the 20 in four-straight games, including a season-high four in the Northwestern win. Thirteen of Whitehead’s last 17 punts (76.5) have been downed inside the 20, with eight of those inside the 10 (47.1) and three of those inside the 5 (17.7).

Only two of his 36 punts have resulted in a touchback, 17 have resulted in a fair catch (47.2) and just five have been returned (13.9).

Whitehead holds a 40.7 career average with 15 50-yarders in addition to 68 punts inside the 20-yard line (39.5), 34 inside the 10 (19.8) and 13 inside the 5 (7.5).

The candidates will be narrowed down to 10 semifinalists and that list will be announced on Tuesday, Nov. 19. Following the announcement, a national voting body of FBS SIDs, media representatives and previous Ray Guy Award winners will vote for the three finalists who will be identified on Monday, Nov. 25. The voting body will then cast ballots to select the winner. The 2019 Ray Guy Award winner will be announced live on ESPN during The Home Depot College Football Awards on Thursday, Dec. 12.

About the Ray Guy Award
The Augusta Sports Council created the Ray Guy Award in 2000 to honor Thomson, Georgia native and College and Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee, Ray Guy. Among the statistics used to identify the winner is net punting average, number of times punt is downed or kicked out of bounds inside the opponents 20-yard line, total yardage punted, average returned yardage and percentage of punts not returned with particular emphasis placed on net punting average. The winner must display team leadership, self-discipline and have a positive impact on the team’s success.

About the Augusta Sports Council
The Augusta Sports Council (ASC) enriches the quality of life and economic well-being for the Augusta metropolitan area by supporting and attracting sporting activities. To learn more, visit www.augustasportscouncil.org.

About the National College Football Awards Association
The Ray Guy Award is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA), which encompasses college football’s most prestigious awards. Founded in 1997, the NCFAA and its 22 awards now boast over 800 recipients, dating to 1935. Visit ncfaa.org to learn more about our story.

The members of the NCFAA are unveiling their preseason watch lists over a two-week period this month. Sixteen of the association’s 23 awards select a preseason watch list and the NCFAA has spearheaded a coordinated effort to promote each award’s preseason candidates.


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