Christmann named to Groza Award watch list

UF kicker Jace Christmann was named to the Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award Watch List, the Palm Beach County Sports Commission announced on Wednesday.

The award is named after the NFL Hall of Famer who played 21 seasons for the Cleveland Browns and was named NFL Player of the Year in 1954.

The Orange Bowl Committee will recognize the three finalists at a celebration in Palm Beach County and will announce the winner at a gala awards banquet at West Palm Beach’s Kravis Center for the Performing Arts on Dec. 6.

Christmann joined the Gators as a walk-on graduate transfer from Mississippi State over the summer.

He made 32 of his 40 field goal attempts with the Bulldogs, with a long of 51 yards. He missed just one extra point in four years. He was named a Freshman All-American after the 2017 season by the Football Writers Association of America.

His 80 percent field goal success rate tied for the best mark in Mississippi State history, and he’s tied for fourth on the school’s all-time scoring list.

However, Christmann lost his starting job to Arizona State transfer Brandon Ruiz last season. Ruiz opted to return to Mississippi State this season, which prompted Christmann to reconnect with the first head coach of his college career in Dan Mullen.

He’ll compete with redshirt senior Chris Howard for the starting job in fall camp.

Ethan was born in Gainesville and has lived in the Starke, Florida, area his entire life. He played basketball for five years and knew he wanted to be a sportswriter when he was in middle school. He’s attended countless Gators athletic events since his early childhood, with baseball being his favorite sport to attend. He’s a proud 2019 graduate of the University of Florida and a 2017 graduate of Santa Fe College. He interned with the University Athletic Association’s communications department for 1 ½ years as a student and has spent the last two football seasons writing for InsideTheGators.com. He is a long-suffering fan of the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Tampa Bay Rays. You can follow him on Twitter @ehughes97.