Nov. 19, 2012
It's been a record-breaking season for Tulane's Cairo Santos and today the junior place-kicker was recognized for his outstanding performance with his selection as a finalist for the prestigious Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award, as it was announced by the Palm Beach County Sports Commission.
Santos, who hails from Sao Paulo, Brazil, but prepped as an exchange student at St. Joseph's Academy in St. Augustine, Fla., joins fellow finalists Caleb Sturgis from Florida and Dustin Hopkins from Florida State. Both Santos and Sturgis prepped at high schools in St. Augustine and have been close friends for the past four years.
"This is by far one of the biggest honors I have ever received and I am very happy to represent my teammates and my university," Santos said. "I am very grateful for my coaches and teammates who have helped me get to this point. I would not be here without them.
"Ever since I started kicking, I have known about the Lou Groza Award and how it recognizes the best collegiate kicker each season. Every year, I have watched it and looked up to those guys who excelled throughout their seasons and I always hoped to one day be on that stage. It's a great feeling to have my name and my school recognized for this award."
"On behalf of the Tulane football program, we congratulate Cairo on this excellent honor," Tulane head coach Curtis Johnson said. "Cairo worked extremely hard during the off season and through this entire season and it's great to see his efforts pay off in such a big way. With the operation between Billy (Johnson), Cairo and (Ryan) Rome, our field goal and PAT operation has been nearly flawless this season. Cairo has been one of our most consistent players this season. He is a special player and a great young man and we are very happy for him."
This season, Santos has rewritten the Tulane record books and is one of three qualifying kickers who have yet to miss a field goal during 2012 campaign. Santos is a perfect 20-of-20 on his field goal attempts this season, including a 12-of-12 clip from 40-plus yards and two makes from beyond 50 yards. His 12 field goals of 40+ yards are two more than anyone in the nation and he has hit 24-of-25 PATs (his lone missed PAT was blocked).
With one game remaining for Tulane, Santos has a chance to join 1996 Groza winner Marc Primanti as the only kickers in FBS history to stay perfect throughout a season in which they attempted 20 or more.
Santos has notched the longest two field goals in school history this season with a school-record 57-yarder against Rice, which ranks as the third longest among FBS schools in 2012, and a 54-yarder against ULM. He ranks first among C-USA kickers and fifth nationally in field goals per game (1.82).
His 20 field goals are tied for the second-most in Tulane single-season history- equaling the mark of Seth Marler in 2002- and three behind the record of 23 set by Brad Palazzo in 1997. His 84 points is tied for the fifth-most kicking and 10th-most overall totals in Tulane single-season history.
For his career, Santos has now scored 221 points after connecting on 44-of-54 field goals (.815) and 89-of-92 PATs (.978). This season, he has climbed to fourth place in the Tulane career record book in points scored kicking, field goals made and PATs made, and into sixth in total points scored. His PAT percentage ranks third in Tulane career history and Santos remains the all-time leader in field goal percentage, fifth in PAT attempts, seventh in field goal attempts.
Santos is the first Tulane kicker to be selected a Lou Groza Award Finalist since former All-America kicker Seth Marler won the award in 2001. Conference USA kickers previously took home the award in back-to-back years with Marler in 2001 and Cincinnati's Jonathan Ruffin in 2000. Southern Miss' Danny Hrapmann was the last C-USA kicker named a Lou Groza Award Finalist in 2010.
The Home Depot College Football Awards, now in its 22nd year, will once again air on ESPN, Thursday, Dec. 6, at 7:30 p.m., highlighting the achievements of college football student-athletes in 2012. Twenty-four players were selected as finalists today for the nine National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA) awards given annually during the show. ESPNU will feature the below nominees during The Home Depot College Football Awards: Nomination Special on Tuesday, Nov. 20 at 6 p.m. ET.
This year, fans can have their part in naming the winner of the Lou Groza Award. Fans can visit www.lougrozaaward.com and cast a vote for their favorite of the three finalists selected by the national panel of voters. The finalist who receives the greatest total of fan votes will be given one vote on the final ballot. One vote can make a difference in the final outcome so fans are encouraged to participate.