BERKELEY – Cal senior placekicker Vincenzo D’Amato was one of 30 NCAA® Football Bowl Subdivision student-athletes who excel both on and off the field selected Wednesday as candidates for the 2013 Senior CLASS Award in collegiate football.
To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I FBS senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence – community, classroom, character and competition.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.
“I feel very honored and excited especially knowing what this award is all about,” D’Amato said. “I’ve been taught by my family to always give it my best and the four areas of excellence this award recognize fit right into that. It’s hard work but once you become used to a lifestyle like that it become easier, it’s enjoyable.”
D'Amato got off to a strong start in 2013 in Cal’s season opener against Northwestern last Saturday in a 44-30 home loss to Northwestern in which he earned the Pac-12 Special Teams Player of the Week and was a College Football Performance Awards national honorable mention placekicker performer for the first time in his career for his performance. D’Amato was responsible for a career-high 18 points. He tied a career-high with three field goals made by converting on each of his three attempts and also made all three of his extra-point attempts. In addition, D’Amato threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to holder Jackson Bouza for Cal's first touchdown of the game and the first of his career when the Golden Bears ran a fake field goal play to cap their first drive.
D’Amato was a 2013 preseason first-team All-Pac-12 choice of Lindy’s and Sporting News, a second-team selection according to Athlon and College Sports Madness, and a third-team pick by Phil Steele. D’Amato is also on the watch list for the College Football Performance Awards Placekicker Trophy, a candidate for the Lou Groza Award as the nation’s top placekicker. He was the No. 8 draft eligible place kicker in the nation prior to the season according to Phil Steele.
D’Amato is Cal’s active career scoring leader with 142 points, making 26-of-38 (68.4%) field goal attempts and 64-of-67 (95.5%) extra point tries. He had his biggest season to date in 2012 when he was a first-team All-Pac-12 selection by the league’s coaches after leading the conference in field goals made per game (1.333 fgmpg), scoring a team and career-high 78 points and making 11 consecutive field goals at one point in the campaign.
Of the 30 candidates, 12 have grade point averages of 3.0 or higher. Seven are All-Americans and 12 were all-conference selections in 2012. The Senior CLASS Award winner will be announced during the football bowl season in early January.
The 30 candidates will be narrowed to 10 finalists midway through the regular season, and those 10 names will be placed on the official ballot. Ballots will be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, coaches and fans, who will select one candidate who best exemplifies excellence in the four Cs of community, classroom, character and competition.
For more information on all the candidates, visit seniorCLASSaward.com.