Andre Heidari among 30 named to the Lou Groza Award watch list

Sophomore kicker Andre Heidari has been named to the Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award preseason watch list, the Palm Beach County Sports Commission announced Wednesday.

The award, which is annually given to the nation’s best collegiate placekicker, will be presented by the Orange Bowl Committee on Dec. 4. Thirty players were named to the watch list, which will be pared down to three finalists by Nov. 19.

Heidari — 2011’s No. 1 high school placekicking recruit in the country according to ESPN — began his USC career last season with lofty expectations as the team’s lone scholarship kicker.

The freshman did not disappoint, as he converted 15 of 17 field-goal tries and all 50 extra-point attempts, and contributed four tackles on special teams. His reliability earned him a place on the All-Pac-12 first team and the distinction of finishing as a Groza Award semifinalist.

The Groza Award is given in honor of its namesake, Lou “The Toe” Groza, who won four NFL championships with the Cleveland Browns and earned Player of the Year honors in 1954. Also an accomplished offensive lineman, Groza championed the idea that kickers deserve their own roster spot on an NFL team.