Aug. 12, 2009
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - University of New Mexico sophomore James Aho was one of 30 players named to the 2009 preseason watch list for the Lou Groza Award, which is presented annually to the top kicker in the FBS (Division I). Aho - the top returning field goal kicker in the Mountain West Conference - was one of two MWC players selected to the watch list along with TCU sophomore Ross Evans. The two are among eight sophomores on the list.
After walking on to the team in the spring of 2008 Aho went on to turn in the most productive freshman season ever by a Lobo kicker. The Roswell, N.M. product connected on a UNM freshman record 18 of 24 field goals, ranking 19th nationally with 1.5 field goals per game.
Aho had four multiple field goal games and provided the winning margin for two Lobo victories with an Mountain West record 18 points vs. Arizona (5-5 FGs) and 11 at New Mexico State (3-3 FGs). Both performances earned him MWC Special Teams Player of the Week accolades, while the five field goals in New Mexico's upset of Arizona tied a school and conference record. He became the first Lobo kicker ever to hit four field goals of 40 yards or more in the win over the Wildcats.
More than three hundred media representatives, coaches, past recipients, conference and university officials make up the voting panel which selects the recipient of the Lou Groza Collegiate Place Kicking Award. The Award will be presented on Dec. 10, 2009, as part of the ESPN Home Depot College Football Awards program. The three finalists will be honored at the 18th annual Lou Groza Award Banquet to be held at the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach, Florida on Tuesday Dec. 8.