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Big year for SEC place-kickers

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

Scanning the list of semifinalists for the 2009 Lou Groza Award is pretty telling when you start rating the quality of place-kickers in the SEC.

In short, this league has a few guys who can kick the ball.

Five of the 12 SEC place-kickers made the semifinal cut for the Lou Groza Award, which goes annually to the nation's best place-kicker. There are 20 kickers on the list.

Representing the SEC were Auburn's Wes Byrum, South Carolina's Spencer Lanning, Florida's Caleb Sturgis, Alabama's Leigh Tiffin and Georgia's Blair Walsh.

Byrum and Walsh each have missed only one field goal this season. Walsh is 7-for-7 from 40 yards or longer and 3-for-3 from 50-yards or longer.

Tiffin is tied with UCLA's Kai Forbath for the national lead with 20 field goals made, while Sturgis has the SEC's longest field goal this season at 56 yards.

Lanning may be the neatest story of the five. He didn't even have a scholarship prior to this preseason and has handled the Gamecocks' place-kicking and punting duties and has also kicked off some.