Western kickers up for national awards

Published 10:20 pm Thursday, July 9, 2015

A pair of Western Michigan football players have been named to preseason watch lists.

Senior punter J. Schroeder and senior kicker Andrew Haldeman have been named to the Ray Guy Award and Lou Groza Award watch lists.


Ray Guy Award

Western Michigan football senior punter J. Schroeder has been identified for the 2015 Ray Guy Award Preseason Watch List, given annually to the nation’s top collegiate punter.

The Ray Guy Award winner is determined by a national voting body of sports writers, college coaches, sports information directors, and past Ray Guy Award winners. Among the statistics used to identify the winner is net punting average, number of times a punt is downed or kicked out of bounds inside the opponents 20-yard line, total yardage punted, average returned yardage, and percentage of punts not returned.

The winner must display team leadership, self-discipline, and have a positive impact on the team’s success.

Schroeder was a third team All-MAC selection for the Broncos as a junior and was also named a candidate for the Ray Guy Award that year as well. His 2014 season was his best in the Brown and Gold, as Schroeder set career-highs in punting average (42.8), longest punt (74, at Ball State), 50-plus yard punts (16), and punts planted inside the 20-yard line (20). He was named the Mid-American Conference West Division’s Special Teams Player of the Week after his performance against Toledo where he averaged 41.0 yards per punt in a driving rainstorm, landing two inside the

20-yard line.

The number of eligible candidates for this season will grow when the award opens for nominations in September. The complete list of candidates will be released on Oct. 30. In early November, the Ray Guy Award committee will meet to select the ten semifinalists, who will be announced on Nov. 13. A national body of Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) sports information directors, coaches, media representatives, and previous Ray Guy Award winners will then vote for the top three finalists, to be announced on Nov. 23.

After the finalists are named, the voting body will cast ballots again to select the nation’s top punter. The winner will be announced live during The Home Depot College Football Awards airing on ESPN on Thursday, Dec. 10.


Lou Groza Award

Western Michigan football senior Andrew Haldeman has been identified for the 2015 Lou Groza Award Watch List, given annually to the nation’s top kicker.

The award is named for National Football League Hall of Fame kicker Lou “The Toe” 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. Although an All-Pro offensive lineman as well, Groza ushered in the notion that there should be a place on an NFL roster for a kicker.

A starter since his first game as a freshman, Haldeman enters 2015 with the chance to finish his career atop the Western Michigan record books. With another 14 field goals this season, he’ll match the school record for career makes.

If he can notch his first 100-point season, he’ll become the Broncos career-scoring leader. Haldeman went 14-of-17 for an 82.7 field goal percentage and ranked second on the Broncos’ in scoring with 93 points on the season.

Semifinalists for the Lou Groza Award will be announced Nov. 5, while the three finalists will be unveiled Nov. 23. The winner of the 2015 Lou Groza Award will be announced as part of the Home Depot College Football Awards Show held on Dec. 10.