Yes, Holder of the Year is a real thing.
Every position in college football has an award watch list. Punters get the Ray Guy Award. Kickers get the Groza Award. Even longsnappers have the Patrick Mannelly Award. While none of these awards hold a candle to the Piesman Trophy, it is great to see unsung heroes get some deserved recognition. The Holder of the year is the Mortell Award, and it has been given to the nation’s best holder on placekicks since 2015, when it was given to its namesake Peter Mortell at Minnesota.
This year Purdue’s Danny Carollo has been named a semifinalist:
Here are your 2019 HOTY Semi-Finalists!— HOTY (@MortellAward) November 15, 2019
Congratulations to college football’s top field goal holders! pic.twitter.com/MEprpRPZbq
Mortell himself has a great story behind the award:
The next week, Mortell paired up with the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s hospital. He launched a fundraiser called, “A Very Specialist Christmas” where, the self-proclaimed (but critically acclaimed) Holder of the Year set out to raise money for the hospital’s teenage patients who would be spending their Christmas in a hospital room.
What happened next was astonishing.
Mortell set a lofty $10,000 goal. However, the former walk-on greatly underestimated the community’s willingness to support this cause. The goal was achieved 8 hours later, and a new one was soon established. Goals were set and reached four more times that week, before concluding at approximately $30,000, triple of the original goal. Over 350 people donated to his cause, many of whom wrote, “I only heard about you last week through the Holder of the Year Award, however, I’d very much like to contribute to your special cause.”
Carollo is one of 23 semifinalists, and here is what he had to say:
Honored to be nominated for the most prestigious / athletic award in CFB. It’s been a dream of mine since I arrived at Purdue to be recognized nationally for holding, twisting and tilting @JDDell85 balls. #LacesOut— Danny Carollo (@dancarollo7) November 17, 2019
Here is hoping Danny brings this home because his hopes for the Ray Guy are... not great.
Seriously though, congratulations, Danny, and LACES OUT, DAN! Also, Danny could still be a bowl MVP, as he is currently the No. 3 QB on the depth chart and, at the rate we’re losing guys, might be starting by the IU game.