BOULDER-Will Oliver’s kicking prowess has consistently grabbed local headlines and now the national media is starting to stand up and take notice.
In the midst of another solid season, the CU kicker has been named as one of 20 semi-finalists for the 2013 Lou Groza Award, handed out annually to the nation's top kicker. Oliver has connected on 78 percent of his field goal attempts, including makes from 53 and 52 yards out, and has been perfect on extra points. The fact that he is also doubling as a kickoff specialist this season for the first time in his career makes his achievements as a place kicker that much more impressive.
“It’s nice to get some recognition for all the work I’ve put in,” said Oliver. “I think I’m headed in the right direction but I still think I have a ways to go to be as good as I can be.”
Oliver’s season began with him going a perfect 4-4 on field goals in the team’s win over Colorado State and has continued to steamroll in the weeks since. A month later he was perfect again, going 3-3 against Oregon. He boomed five kickoffs through the end zone in the team’s win over Charleston Southern then made a career-long 53 yarder against Arizona. Despite all of the success Oliver has enjoyed this season, it’s the mistakes that drive him and after missing twice in the loss at UCLA, Oliver knows he will have to get even better if he is to have a chance to win the award.
“I had a rough game last week,” said Oliver. “It was really eye-opening to me to struggle like that but as long as I take it one kick at a time and stay engaged I think I’ll have a chance to win it.”
Oliver is joined on the list by some of the best kicking talent in the country including four kickers from Pac-12. Arizona State’s Zane Gonzalez, Utah’s Andy Phillips and California’s Vincenzo D’Amato also made the list indicating that the position has become a strength throughout the conference.
“I think that’s really good for the conference,” said Oliver. “It’s great for all of us in the Pac-12 to have that competition and it’s a great motivation factor for me because there’s just so much talent.”
Oliver joins former kicker Mason Crosby as the only CU kickers to ever be named semi-finalists for the prestigious award. Crosby was named a semi-finalist twice and finished as the runner-up to winner Alexis Serna from Oregon State in 2005.
The list will be reduced to three finalists on November 25th and on December 12th the winner will be announced at the annual Home Depot College Football Awards Show which will air live on ESPN.