NC State’s Christopher Dunn receives 2022 Groza Award as nation’s best kicker

For a placekicker in college, there is no bigger honor than receiving the annual Lou Groza Award.

N.C. State’s Christopher Dunn was the nation’s best kicker this season, selected as the 2022 Groza Award winner after converting 24 of 25 field-goal attempts – 10 from 40 yards or longer – and finishing his career 200-for-200 on point-after attempts while setting ACC records.

Dunn became the second Wolfpack kicker to win the Groza Award; Marc Primanti was the 1996 Groza honoree. He also became the first Pack kicker to receive All-America recognition since Primanti.

Dunn set ACC marks for career points scored (479) and field goals (93). He ranked first in the ACC and second nationally this season in field-goal percentage (.960).

In an interview early in the 2022 season, Dunn explained the pressure that a placekicker can feel and how he handles it.

“What are you going to do when the lights are bright?” Dunn said. “It’s about going out with confidence. It’s about being in the moment and focusing on every minor detail.”

Dunn said it also takes a cohesive team, praising long snapper Joe Shimko and holder Shane McDonough for their work.

Dunn, a Lexington native, was determined to be even better as a “super senior” in 2022 after converting 13-of-19 field goals in 2021. He said he worked with two kicking coaches in the offseason to help sharpen his technique while reading some books — “Golf is Not a Game of Perfect” and “Chop Wood, Carry Water” two of his selections — that helped sharpen his mental approach.

The Lou Groza Award was established in 1992 and honors a kicker who was named all-pro nine times and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1974.

Wolfpack coach Dave Doeren, in a statement, said no one has worked harder than Dunn.

“He has overcome a lot of obstacles, on and off the field, but his dedication, persistence and faith have helped him become the remarkable person and kicker that he is today,” Doeren said.

Dunn’s highlights this season included his four field goals in a 19-17 comeback win over Florida State, and his two overtime field goals that lifted the Pack past North Carolina 30-27. He also tied his career-long with a 53-yarder against FSU.

Dunn received the Groza Award on Thursday during the Home Depot College Football Awards show on ESPN.