- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 11, 2014

Maryland’s Brad Craddock was named the recipient of the Lou Groza Award on Thursday, honoring him as the best placekicker in the country.

Craddock, a junior, made 18 of 19 field goal attempts this season, including a 57-yarder against Ohio State on Oct. 4, a game-winning 43-yarder against Penn State on Nov. 1 and three field goals against Michigan on Nov. 22.

“I think, obviously, being here for three years, you understand what all these awards are and what they mean to get and how hard they are to get, so you know, it’s obviously just an honor to be standing down here,” Craddock said on a conference call from Orlando, where he was presented with the award as part of ESPN’s annual college football awards show. “Having my name called was just a blessing on top of all the other blessings I’ve achieved. I’m just really excited.”

A native of Australia, Craddock beat out Florida State’s Roberto Aguayo, the previous recipient, as well as West Virginia’s Josh Lambert to earn the trophy. He became the first Maryland player to win a national award since linebacker E.J. Henderson won the Butkus and Bednarik awards in 2002.

“It is a fantastic honor for Brad to be the recipient of the Lou Groza Award,” Maryland coach Randy Edsall said in a statement released by the team. “His work ethic and competitiveness are unmatched and personify what all of our student-athletes should strive to achieve. To see him arrive at Maryland having never played football and transforming himself into the best kicker in the nation is something that is very special. This is a great honor and very well-deserved.”

Craddock set a single-season school record by making 94.7 percent of his field goals, and he currently holds the school record by making 49 of 60 field goal attempts — an 81.7 conversion percentage.

A second-team Walter Camp all-America selection, Craddock also set a school record, and tied a Big Ten record, by making 24 consecutive field goals. His only miss this season was in a 41-38 loss to Rutgers in the regular-season finale, when his 54-yard attempt with 3:45 remaining went wide left.

Maryland (7-5, 4-4 Big Ten) was selected to play in the Foster Farms Bowl in Santa Clara, Calif. on Dec. 30, where it will face Stanford.

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