In 2017, Lehi’s Jose Pizano contributed to the success of the state champion football team in his first-ever year of playing football as a senior. A recruit from the soccer team, he produced 26 points in the kicking game to help the Pioneers to the title.
Last Saturday (Oct. 21), he broke two school records at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. He made all six of his field goal attempts, including the game-winner as time expired to lift the Rebels to a 25-23 Homecoming victory over Colorado State to improve their record to 6-1.
Pizano’s field goal total tied the Mountain West single-game record and broke Daniel Gutierrez’s Rebel record of five, set just last season, while his 19 total points scored shattered the previous mark of 16 kicking points in game.
For these accomplishments, he was named College Football Network Co-Special Teams Player of the Week, one of three FBS booters named a Star of the Week by the Palm Beach County Sports Commission Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award and was also Mountain West Special Teams Player of the Week.
In addition, he was tabbed as the Raising Cane’s Outstanding Rebel of the Week, an award which goes to the student-athlete who turned in the best individual performance during the previous week of competition as voted on by the UNLV Athletics Strategic Communications department.
These are just the latest in an impressive list of honors Pizano has earned since he left Lehi. So far this year, the 5-foot-9, 220-lb. super senior has completed 27-of-27 PATs and 18-of-19 field goals, with a long of 52 yards against Hawaii on Sept. 30. He’s also had makes of 48 and 46 yards this season.
It hasn’t exactly been a straight path for the player, but it’s an inspiring story.
In the spring of 2018, Pizano was the leading scorer on the Pioneer soccer team, as he had been the year before. After graduation, he continued on to Snow College to play soccer. He lettered as a midfielder for the Badgers, playing in 14 of 22 games for a 16-3 squad and scoring four goals.
What happened next marked a turning point in his athletic career.
In 2019, he suited up for the Snow football program as a redshirt freshman. He was the team’s leading scorer for the season, posting a perfect 28-for-28 extra points and making 9-of-12 field goals, the longest from 45 yards. He also had 16 touchbacks from 37 kickoffs for 2,228 yards.
His next stop was at FCS school Missouri State, where he spent three seasons, including the split one during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
For the Bears, he earned All-America honors in 2021 from the Associated Press (2nd team) and Phil Steele (3rd team). He received All-Missouri Valley Football Conference awards(2020-21 – 2nd team; 2021 – 2nd team; 2022 – honorable mention)and was twice MVFC Special Teams Player of the Week.
Pizano performed in the classroom too. He garnered a MVFC Commissioner’s Academic Excellence Award in 2021, MVFC Honor Roll recognition in 2020-21, 2021 and 2022, and MSU Athletic Director’s Honor Roll listings for Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022 and Fall 2022.
He entered the transfer portal after the 2022 season was over and joined the Rebels in January using the extra year granted because of pandemic disruptions.
A couple of Pizano’s latest honors were a repeat of ones he earned after lifting his team to a 40-37 victory over Vanderbilt by making a 36-yard field goal with five seconds left.
In that contest, he also tied the school record for kicking points in a game with 16, nailing four of his five field-goal attempts along with four successful PATs.
The last time UNLV was 6-1 was 39 years ago. The Rebels are receiving votes in both major polls for the first time since 2003 and are bowl-eligible for the first time in a decade with five games left on the schedule.
You can be sure that Pizano will be a factor in how much farther his team goes this season.