2012 Lou Groza Watch List: Florida Kicker Caleb Sturgis Back in Line for Award

Barrett Sallee@BarrettSalleeSEC Football Lead WriterJuly 11, 2012

Florida PK Caleb Sturgis
Florida PK Caleb SturgisKevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Florida place kicker Caleb Sturgis was a finalist for the Lou Groza Award last season, and the rising senior is back in 2012 with plans to win it.

Sturgis is one of six SEC kickers named to the Lou Groza Award watch list on Wednesday, which is an award given to the nation's top place kicker. He is joined on the watch list by LSU's Drew Alleman, Arkansas' Zach Hocker, Kentucky's Craig McIntosh, Auburn's Cody Parkey and Alabama's Jeremy Shelley.

Sturgis hit 22-of-26 field goals last season, including a long of 55 yards. During his Gator career, he has hit 46-of-60 field goal attempts and nailed 96-of-101 extra point attempts.

He has a cannon for a leg, and that power combined with solid accuracy has made Sturgis a big-time weapon for the Gators.

New offensive coordinator Brent Pease brings a great reputation with him while as an associate head coach and offensive coordinator at Boise State, but his last stop as a coach in the SEC was at Kentucky in 2001-02. That long layoff from coaching in the nation's top conference means that there will be some speed bumps as Pease becomes re-acclimated to SEC football.

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That makes Sturgis' job even more critical.

The SEC East is still relatively down when compared to the SEC West, and if the Gators catch a few breaks, they can contend for the East title this season. Sturgis is a big part of making those breaks become reality.

If you're looking for a dark horse candidate from the SEC to win this award, take a look at Arkansas' Zach Hocker. 

Hocker hit 21-of-27 attempts last season with a long of 50 yards, and he currently holds Arkansas' career field goal percentage record, having hit 80.4 percent of his kicks during his first two years in Fayetteville.