Barbour up for the Lou Groza Award

Published 6:12 pm Saturday, July 9, 2011

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. ­— East Carolina senior kicker Michael Barbour has been named to the Lou Groza Place-Kicker Award Watch List, according to an announcement by the Palm Beach County Sports Commission Thursday. The award recognizes the top collegiate placekicker and is named for National Football League Hall of Fame kicker Lou “The Toe” Groza, who played 21 seasons with the Cleveland Browns.
Barbour immediately provided stability to the Pirates’ kicking game in 2010 after arriving as a transfer from Maryland. He established ECU single-season records for points after touchdowns (56) and total points by a kicker (104). The Oyster Bay, N.Y., native was a Conference USA Head Coaches Second-Team All-C-USA, Second-Team All-C-USA and Phil Steele Magazine Second-Team All-C-USA selection following the season. In addition, he was honored by his teammates with the program’s newcomer-of-the-year award.
Heading into the 2011 campaign, Barbour has earned national recognition as a Consensus Draft Services Preseason All-America Team honoree. He is also on the watch list for the College Football Performance Awards Placekicker Trophy. Both Athlon Magazine and Phil Steele Magazine have Barbour as a preseason second-team all-league choice.
A year ago, Barbour finished 16 of 18 on field-goal attempts, good for the highest conversion percentage in the league (88.9). He drilled all 12 FGs from less than 41 yards away with the misses from 41 and 50 yards. During the Pirates’ home finale against SMU, he misfired wide left from 50 yards away to snap a string of 12-consecutive three-pointers.
In the second quarter of a key Conference USA battle at UAB, Barbour made a personal-long 52-yard field goal. It was the first ECU field goal of 50 or more yards since Ben Hartman’s 51-yarder against Marshall, Nov. 8, 2008, and the longest since Hartman’s 52-yard make at UTEP, Oct. 13, 2007. Barbour’s average of 1.23 field goals per game was the second-best mark in Conference USA and ranked 42nd at the FBS level.
With 16 field goals and 56 PATs, Barbour tallied 104 points to surpass Hartman’s 94 points (20 FGs, 34 PAT) in 2009. Barbour’s point total is tied for third on the ECU single-season record list, trailing only Chris Johnson’s 144 in 2007 and Leonard Henry’s 109 in 2001.
Barbour and Southern Miss’ Danny Hrapmann are the two Conference USA representatives among the 30 preseason honorees. Watch List selections were chosen based on statistics from the 2010 season and expectations for 2011.
Accomplishments for all the watch list nominees are tabulated throughout the season and the Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award announces its 20 semi-finalists October 28. From this list, a panel of over 300 experts selects the top three finalists for the award by November 21. That same voting group then chooses the national winner, which will be announced December 8 during the Home Depot ESPNU College Football Award Show.