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Wisconsin football: Sophomore kicker Rafael Gaglianone named to Groza Award watch list

The energetic kicker is becoming nationally noticed even more with his addition to the Groza Award watch list.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

In three days, five Wisconsin Badgers have earned spots on preseason watch lists.

After Corey Clement, Vince Biegel, Michael Caputo and Dan Voltz all were named to award lists this week, sophomore kicker Rafael Gaglianone was announced as one of 30 players on the 2015 Lou Groza Award preseason watch list for the nation's best placekicker on Thursday.

The 5'11, 235-pound kicker was a consensus All-Big Ten Conference honorable mention after connecting on 19 of 22 field goals and 59 of 61 PATs in 2014. Gaglianone's season ended with 14 consecutive field goals made -- tying a record former kicker Vitaly Pisetsky set in 1999.

As the starting kicker in just one season, the Sao Paulo, Brazil native is already 10th in Wisconsin history in field goals made.

His leg and accuracy will be needed in 2015 once again, especially on Sept. 5 when the Badgers face the Alabama Crimson Tide in Dallas, Tex. Gaglianone made a 51-yard field goal in his collegiate debut in the season opener against LSU on Aug. 30 last year.

More importantly, will we see "the dance" come back in only a couple of months?

Rafael Gaglianone dancing GIF

Here's the official statement from the Wisconsin athletic department:

Gaglianone claims spot on Groza Award watch list
Sophomore among candidates for nation's top placekicker

July 9, 2015

• On the Web:

MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin sophomore kicker Rafael Gaglianone made his way into the Badgers' record books last season, with his rookie performance good enough to land him consideration for the title of the nation's top placekicker.

The 30-player preseason watch list for the 2015 Lou Groza Award, presented annually to the best kicker in the country, was announced Thursday by the Palm Beach County Sports Commission.

Gaglianone is one of 15 new faces on the watch list and one of four kickers from the Big Ten Conference.

As a true freshman, Gaglianone ended his season with a streak of 14 consecutive made field goals to match the UW school record set in 1999 by Vitaly Pisetsky. After just one season with the Badgers, Gaglianone ranks 10th in school history with 19 career field goals and third with a .967 (59-of-61) career PAT percentage.

The consensus honorable mention All-Big Ten pick saw action in 13 games in his premiere season and converted 19 of 22 field goal attempts. His .864 field goal percentage was eighth-best among FBS kickers and ranks No. 2 on Wisconsin's single-season list.

The Sao Paulo, Brazil, native went 2-for-3 from beyond 50 yards, becoming just the third player -- and first freshman -- in school history to hit multiple 50-yard field goals in a season. In addition, he went 14-for-15 on field goals inside 40 yards.

Gaglianone exploded onto the scene after booting a 51-yard field goal against LSU on Aug. 30 in his debut for the Badgers. He became the second UW freshman to convert a 50-yarder on his first career attempt.

He finished the year with a pair of big kicks vs. Auburn in the Outback Bowl, knocking in a 29-yarder to tie the game with 7 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter and then converting 25-yard game-winner in overtime.

The Lou Groza Award is named for Pro Football Hall of Fame kicker Lou "The Toe" Groza, who played 21 seasons with the Cleveland Browns. Groza won four NFL championships with Cleveland and was named NFL Player of the Year in 1954. Although an All-Pro offensive lineman as well, Groza ushered in the notion that there should be a place on an NFL roster for a kicker.

Semifinalists for the Lou Groza Award will be announced Nov. 5, while the three finalists will be unveiled Nov. 23. The winner will be announced as part of The Home Depot College Football Awards show held Dec. 10, live on ESPN.

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