JONESBORO, Ark. (News release) – The Palm Beach County Sports Commission announced Thursday that Arkansas State sophomore placekicker Blake Grupe has been named one of 20 semifinalists for the 2019 Lou Groza Award presented by the Orange Bowl.
Grupe becomes the fourth all-time A-State player ever named a semifinalist for the prestigious honor, joining Brian Davis (2012 and 2013), Josh Arauco (2008) and Jeff Caldwell (1994). Arauco is the only player in school history to be tabbed a finalist for the award, issued annually since 1992 to the nation’s top collegiate placekicker.
Also a 2019 Burlsworth Trophy nominee, Grupe has made 13-of-14 field goal attempts this season for a Sun Belt Conference-best .929 percentage that also ranks tied for 10th in the nation. His only miss on the year came from 50 yards out against Georgia, and his field goal percentage actually ranks tied for fifth in the nation among players with at least 14 attempts. Additionally, his percentage currently stands as the second highest in Sun Belt history.
The Sedalia, Mo., native is averaging 1.44 field goals per game this year to rank third in the conference and tied for 28th in the nation. His 13 field goals made are the second most in the league, 20th most in the country and ties the 12th most in school history.
Grupe has made 37-of-38 extra point attempts, including his last 31 in a row for the seventh longest streak ever by an A-State player. His 37 successful PATs tie the eight most in school history, while his 76 points by kicking are the 10th most for a single season.
Named the Sun Belt Conference Special Teams Player of the Week this past Monday, Grupe is averaging 8.4 points per game to tie the 33rd highest average in the nation among all players. His average among kickers only ranks tied for 17th in the country and No. 1 in the Sun Belt.
Grupe, who has connected on his last 10 field goal attempts to tie the third longest streak in school history, has five games this year with multiple field goals made. He scored a career-high 13 points earlier this season against UNLV, the same game where he tied his career high for field goals made with three. Grupe has tallied a double-figure points total in four outings this year.
This season has seen Grupe increase his career points total to 153, which is the eighth most in A-State history. He now also has 27 career field goals made to his credit to tie the eight most ever by an Arkansas State player, while his 72 career extra points made rank 10th.
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. The finalists will be announced Nov. 25 and honored at the 28th annual Lou Groza 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.