ORLANDO, Fla. – For the third time this week, the University of Central Florida saw one of its football players nominated for a national award.
Nominated for the Lou Groza Award, redshirt junior Matthew Wright has the chance to claim the title of best kicker in college football. Joining redshirt senior linebacker Shaquem Griffin and senior tight end Jordan Akins, the three Knights will find out if they won their respective awards on Dec. 7 at the Home Depot College Football Awards show.
Wright was nominated for the 2017 award after having a successful and impactful season on the gridiron for the Knights and now second-year head coach Scott Frost.
Making 17 field goals in 2016, Wright tied for fourth for the all-time UCF list of most field goals made in a single season. Making 30 field goals in his past two years of work, Wright is also just two away from joining UCF's all-time top-10 list.
Wright played in all 13 games of his sophomore campaign as a placekicker, going 17-for-22 on field goals. Knocking down 39 extra-point kicks out of 41 attempts, Wright also managed to hit nine field goals that traveled 40 yards or further.
Wright had one of his biggest games on Sept. 9, going four-for-four on field goal attempts and knocking down a 46-yarder in the process. Wright's longest field goal of the year came on a 50-yard kick against UConn on Oct. 22.
Wright will track his chances for the award starting with an announcement by the Orange Bowl Committee on Nov. 2, which will release the list of 20 semifinalists. On Nov. 21, the committee will announce its three finalists, and the winner will be announced on Dec. 7.
Wright joins Griffin, who was nominated for the Chuck Bednarik Award, and Akins, who joined the John Mackey Award watch list.
The Lou Groza Award is named after former NFL and current Hall of Fame kicker Lou Groza. Groza played 21 seasons with the Cleveland Browns, winning four NFL Championships and claiming the 1954 Player of the Year Award.