As we move closer to opening kickoff of the 2016 college football season, more and more CFB awards committees are naming players to their preseason watch lists. After UConn took a huge step forward last season several Huskies find themselves on the top of these lists.
Senior Kicker Bobby Puyol has been named to the 2016 Lou Groza Collegiate Football Place-Kicker Award for the nations top place-kicker as well as the 2016 Danny Wuerffel award presented to the FBS player who best combines exemplary community service with academic and athletic achievement. Puyol made 21 of 24 extra points last season as well as 16 of 18 field goals, good for fifth in the county in field goal percentage. In addition to playing football, Puyol is also very active in the UConn community as president of the UConn chapter of Athletes in Action as well as mentoring elementary school students in academics and athletics through a program called the Goal Line Project. 20 semifinalists will be announced for the Groza award on November 3rd with three finalists being announced on November 22nd. The winner will be named during the December 8th Home Depot College Football awards show.
In addition to Puyol, Junior cornerback Jamar Summers has been named to the Chuck Bednarik Award and Bronko Nagurski Award watch lists both given to the best defensive player in the country. In addition Summers was also named to the Jim Thorpe award lists given to the best defensive back in college football. Summers is coming off a stellar sophmore season in which he was named to the All American Athletic Conference First team as well as the All- New England first team as chosen by the NE Football Writers Association. Summers was ranked Third nationally in interceptions per game as well as first in the American. These interceptions included possibly the most important interception in UConn football history sealing the victory in the game against undefeated Houston.
Senior Punter Justin Wain was named to the Ray Guy Award watch list for the nations top punter, making UConn one of just seven schools to have both their punter and place-kicker on watch lists for the nations top players at their respective positions. Wain averaged 38.2 yards per punt last season with 22 inside the 20 yard line as well as 39 that were returned for a fair catch.
Sophmore Ryan Crozier became yet another Husky named to an award watch list when he was nominated for the Rimington Trophy awarded to the nations top center. After missing all of last season due to an injury, Crozier finished 2016 spring practice as the starting center for the Huskies.
With all these UConn athletes being nominated for awards, we here at IBWT cant say we’re really surprised. Being good at sports is kind of UConn’s thing.