UCLA kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn wins Lou Groza Award

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UCLA’s Ka’imi Fairbairn is officially the top kicker in college football.

The senior beat out Auburn’s Daniel Carlson and Memphis’ Jake Elliott on Thursday night, winning the Lou Groza Award during a ceremony at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta. He received the honor after settling for All-Pac-12 second team, falling behind Oregon’s Aidan Schneider.

Fairbairn became the conference’s all-time leading scorer this fall, making 20 of 23 field goals and setting a school record with a 60-yarder against Cal — a booming kick that likely balanced out his misses from 49 and 47 yards to end the season. He had never made one from even 50 yards until this season. He is the first Bruin to win the Lou Groza Award since Kai Forbath in 2009.

“There is a quote by Sir Isaac Newton that says, “I see as far as I see, because I stand on the shoulders of giants,” Fairbairn said after winning his award. “It is because of the efforts of a great deal of others that I stand here today. These people are the foundation that have enabled me to succeed.”

He proceeded to thank a long list of people, including UCLA administrators, head coach Jim Mora, his teammates — in particular, backup quarterback/holder Jerry Neuheisel and longsnapper Chris Longo — and his parents, John and Rochelle.

The Hawaii native was also named to the Walter Camp All-America first team. Carlson and Elliott shared the second-team spot.