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Alex Kessman named to Lou Groza Award watch list

Pitt players have been placed on five preseason award watch lists in 2019

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 06 Syracuse at Pitt Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Pitt kicker Alex Kessman was placed on the Lou Groza Award watch list on Wednesday afternoon. The award has been given to the top placekicker in college football every year since 1992. No player from Pitt has won the honor.

Kessman is one 30 nominees on the watch list and just nine returning placekickers who made at least eight kicks of 40 yards or more in 2018. In fact, he set a school record by converting on four kicks of 50 yards or more in 2018 and owns the Pitt career record in the same category, with six successful kicks of 50 yards or more.

One of those 50-plus-yard kicks came last season at Heinz Field, setting a record for the longest kick in the venue’s history at the college or pro level, at 55 yards. The previous year, he also set a Carrier Dome record and tied a mark set by Chris Blewitt for the longest kick in program history with a 56-yarder.

The Clarkston, Michigan, native was also the Panthers’ top scorer in 2017 and 2018, with 67 and 79 points, respectively. For his contributions, he earned third-team All-ACC honors. Second-team honors went to Christopher Dunn of NC State, and the first-team spot went to Andre Szmyt of Syracuse.

Both of the rival ACC kickers are on the Lou Groza Award watch list alongside Kessman, and Szmyt took home the award last season.