A Starr in the Sunshine State

Dec. 3, 2007

Junior kicker Austin Starr is a finalist for the Lou Groza Award, presented to the nation's top place-kicker. As a finalist, Starr earned a week in the Florida sun. He headed to West Palm Beach, Fla., on Sunday to participate in activities with the Lou Groza Award Committee and the Palm Beach County Sports Commission. On Wednesday, he will travel to Orlando in preparation for The Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards. Starr will find out if he is the next Lou Groza Award winner on the live telecast Thursday, Dec. 6, from 7:30-9:30 p.m. EST on ESPN.

During his journey in the Sunshine State, Starr will check in with IUHoosiers.com to update Hoosier fans daily. Here is Starr's first installment recapping Sunday's events:

The day started at 6:00 a.m., as I was anxious to hit the road up to Indy and arrive at the airport early for my 10:50 a.m. flight. The night before I didn't get much rest with class assignments to finish and packing to be done. I left around 7:30 a.m. and got to the airport in plenty of time to meet up with my parents and take off. We had a stop in Atlanta and the weather just kept getting better as we continued south to West Palm Beach. This place is amazing!

As we got off the flight and went down to baggage claim there was a Lou Groza representative who had a sign with my name on it. He escorted us down to get our bags and when we went outside a limo was waiting to take us to the Palm Beach Garden Marriott hotel. I couldn't believe it. I had never ridden in a limo before.

After settling in we were picked up again around 6:00 p.m. and taken to the Lou Groza Welcome Banquet at Duffy's Sport Bar. I met the Palm Beach County Sports Commission and members of the Lou Groza Award Committee along with many others. It was at this event I found out where we were going to play in a bowl game and I saw the kick from the Purdue game as a nominee for the Pontiac Game Changing Performance of the Year. Everyone loves the story of our team and how we've come together to achieve our first bowl game in 14 years as we honor Coach Hoeppner.



It was an early bedtime for me since I was going on two hours of sleep from the night before and a long day of traveling. I was glad to be in good company and knew this week was going to be an experience I would never forget.

Junior kicker Austin Starr is enjoying a week in Florida as one of three finalists for the Lou Groza Award.