Sept. 16, 2008
The awards keep rolling in for New Mexico freshman kicker James Aho. Aho, who earned Mountain West Conference Co-Special Teams Player of the Week honors yesterday, was named a Lou Groza Award national "Star of the Week" today. Each week the Lou Groza Award committee recognizes the three top kickers from Division 1 schools who have made outstanding contributions during the previous week's games.
The Lou Groza Award is presented annually to the nation's top collegiate place kicker.
Two freshmen, one a walk on, the other a last minute replacement and a 2007 Groza semi-finalist are the three "Stars of the Week" for the third week of the 2008 collegiate football season.
True freshman James Aho became the first kicker in University of New Mexico history to make four field goals in a game over 40 yards. He scored on kicks of 34,43,48,42 and 46 yards in the Lobo's 36 - 28 upset of the University of Arizona Wildcats at Albuquerque last Saturday. The native of Roswell, New Mexico, who hopes to become a surgeon, is a perfect 7 for 7 in field goals and 4-4 in PAT's after the first three weeks of his college career.
University of South Florida freshman Maikon Bonani missed his first ever attempt at the college level early in the game but hit the next three including the game winner with no time left on the clock to give the Bulls a 37-34 upset win over the Kansas Jayhawks last Friday at Tampa. Bonani who was kicking in his first collegiate game scored on kicks of 34, 23 and 43 yards. USF Coach Jim Leavitt had a hunch to start the freshman over junior Delbert Alvarado, the Bulls starter the previous two years, and the Brazilian native from Lake Wales, Florida validated the decision.
University of Oregon senior Matt Evenson came out on top of a kicking duel with Purdue's Chris Sommers, kicking field goals of 23, 21, 38 and 33 yards in the Ducks 32-26 double overtime defeat of the Boilermakers at Eugene last Saturday. Sommers also kicked four field goals in the game and both hit overtime scores to keep the game going. Evenson, a 2007 Groza semi-finalist and member of this season's pre-season watch list has kicked all 9 PAT's this season, extending his unblemished streak to 80. He is fourth in the nation in kick scoring with 33 points.
Congrats to AHO!!!! Awesome stuff ---- and only a freshman (he needs to be on scholarship; would hate to see him leave because someone else offers him one)!!!
Way to go James!
At UNM, any player who wins our starting kicking, punting or deep snapping job gets a scholarship as soon as one opens up. That's what fuels the competition between these guys that results in unknowns like Aho developing into elite players. Since Aho just won the job in August, he'll likely be placed on scholarship next semester.
Remember, consensus All-American John Sullivan was only on scholarship for one year (fall/spring) while he was at New Mexico.
-Lobo Media Relations
Yes, but wasn't John Sullivan the primary kicker for that 1 year? Aho is a freshman and I'd hate to see him go to another school willing to give him that scholarship based on his performance this year at UNM. Also, how does the reduction in scholarships due to the recent NCAA issues affect Aho's ability to obtain a scholarship?
FYI - I don't know Aho, I've never spoken to him, I didn't even know he existed until this past game ---- none the less, we need him (his 15 points from those long field goals made the difference between a 1-2 vs 0-3 start).
Thanks for the response; I appreciate it!
Well, I guess my point is that the specialists all know how it works in the program regarding scholarships. I don't think Aho is any more likely to go find another school than say Wes Zunker was when he started as a freshman walk-on in 2001. Maybe if they thought there was no chance at a scholarship they might consider that, but since the scholarship is forthcoming, there doesn't seem to be any reason for him to look elsewhere.
Of course all players - scholarship or not - can transfer at any time during their careers if they're not happy in the program. So if somebody really wanted to leave, there's nothing we could really do about that.
So far as I know the scholarship reduction won't affect guys like Aho, who are starters and key contributors on the team. What it may affect a bit is the walk-on who is on the travel team, but doesn't usually see the field. There is a chance that we won't have the luxury of putting as many of those guys on scholarship if they're not key contributors.
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