After Gunner Kiel and Mike Boone were each included on the Maxwell Award watch list, tight end DJ Dowdy and kicker Andrew Gantz were each placed on preseason award watch lists this week. Gantz is on the watch list for the Lou Groza Award and Dowdy is in the running for the John Mackey Award.
Gantz connected on 21-of-27 field goal attempts last year and only missed on one extra point in 50 tries. He ranked sixth in the American Athletic Conference in scoring (112 points) and third among kickers in the league.
The Lou Groza Award, begun in 1992, is given to the top placekicker in college football. UCLA’s Ka’imi Fairbairn took home the trophy in 2015. Former Bearcat Jonathan Ruffin won the award in 2000.
Dowdy played in 13 games in 2015, including six starts. He only accumulated 104 yards on 12 receptions, but he did score three touchdowns. With UC working in some new blood at wide receiver, Dowdy may get his number called more often. If that happens, you have to expect him to put up big numbers considering the Bearcats’ reliance on the passing game.
The John Mackey Award is given to the best tight end in college football. It was first awarded in 2000 to Purdue’s Tim Stratton. Arkansas’ Hunter Henry won the award last season.