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Aug. 12, 2005

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – University of Virginia kicker Connor Hughes (Williamsburg, Va.) is one of 30 preseason candidates for the 2005 Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award, presented by the FedEx Orange Bowl.

Kickers on the Lou Groza Award Preseason Watch List were chosen based on statistics from the 2004 season and 2005 preseason expectations. However, all Division I-A kickers are eligible for consideration for the award. The award will be presented during a ceremony on Tuesday, December 6, 2005, at the Palm Beach Gardens Marriott.

A panel of over 300 experts vote on the award, including Division I-A head coaches, sports writers and sportscasters, conference representatives, professional kickers and all previous Groza Award finalists.

The 20 semifinalists for the Lou Groza Award are announced on Oct. 31, 2005, followed with the naming of the three finalists two weeks later on Nov. 14, 2005.

The award, now in its 14th year, is named for National Football League (NFL) Hall-of-Fame kicker Lou 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. Nicknamed “The Toe,” Groza was one of the first people to truly make kicking an art form, and he helped usher in to football the idea that a player could be used exclusively for kicking.

A preseason All-American, Hughes enters his senior campaign for the Cavaliers this fall. A semifinalist for the Groza Award as a sophomore, Hughes is one of the top returning kickers in the country. His 17 field goals last season are tied for fourth in UVa history. As a sophomore in 2004, Hughes set the school record for field goals with 23 and his 109 points stand second on the all-time scoring list for a season.

Virginia opens the 2005 season at home with Western Michigan on Sept. 3 at 6 p.m. at Scott Stadium.

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