After leading the nation in field goal percentage as a conference last season, the ACC enters 2011 with some of the nation’s top kickers, several of whom should be considered legitimate candidates for the Lou Groza Award, given to the nation’s top placekicker. There are two, though, who are leading the pack:
Duke senior Will Snyderwine: Snyderwine ranked seventh nationally in field goals per game (1.75) last season and enters this season ranked third nationally among all returning FBS placekickers in career field goal percentage (38-44, .864).
Florida State junior Dustin Hopkins: Hopkins, who booted the longest final-play, game-winning field goal in ACC history with a 55-yard kick against Clemson, finished 12th nationally in field goals per game (.1.57).
Other possible candidates:
Boston College sophomore Nate Freese: Ranked eighth nationally last year (1.69) in field goals per game.
North Carolina senior Casey Barth: Leads all ACC placekickers in career field goals (50) and ranks 10th among all returning FBS placekickers in career field goal percentage (.807);
Virginia's Robert Randolph: He ranks eighth nationally among returning FBS placekickers in career field goal percentage (30-37, .811)
Wake Forest's Jimmy Newman: He was second in the ACC in field goal percentage (12-13, .923) and enters the 2011 season with a streak of 12 consecutive field goals made.