PHILADELPHIA—Junior quarterback Ricky Santos (Bellingham, Mass.) of the University of New Hampshire football team, who led the Atlantic 10 Football Conference in passing touchdowns with 23 and rushing touchdowns with 12, was named Co-Atlantic 10 Offensive Player of the Year on Tuesday afternoon for his outstanding efforts during the 2006 season.
Santos becomes the fourth player in league history and the first since former Villanova and current Philadelphia Eagles running back Brian Westbrook (2000-01) to earn Offensive Player of the Year honors in successive seasons. UNH running back Jerry Azumah also won the award twice in 1998 and 1996 and went on to play for the NFL’s Chicago Bears and in the Pro Bowl.
    The junior signal caller enters this weekend’s NCAA Division I Football Championship opening round contest at Hampton ranked in the top 10 nationally in completions (22.7 pg, fourth), total offense (278.7 ypg., sixth) and passing yards (2,681, seventh). One of 16 candidates for the Walter Payton Award, his 23 TDs through the air is tops in the Atlantic 10 and his 12 rushing TDs was No. 1 in the conference. Santos , who had four 300-yard passing performances, shared the Award with University of Massachusetts running back Steve Baylark, who leads the conference in rushing yardage (1,308) and was second behind Santos with 10 rushing touchdowns.
For his career, Santos needs just 204 passing yards to reach 10,000 in three seasons. He has broken nearly all of UNH”s passing records and was a two-time selection as the Sports Network National Player of the week. So far, in 36 games played Santos has thrown for an amazing 93 career TDS and run for 21 for a total of 114.
    Joining Santos as a first-team All-Atlantic 10 selection was his favorite pass-catch partner in senior wide receiver and Walter Payton Award Candidate David Ball (Orange, Vt.). Ball led the conference this season with 82 catches for 990 yards and 11 touchdown receptions. Ball received tremendous media coverage all season long, mostly for breaking Jerry Rice’s all-time touchdown record of 50. Ball presently has 56 career TD receptions as the NCAA I-AA all-time career leader and he is also presently tied for the NCAA lead in 100 yard career performances with Rice with 23. He is also closing in on Rice’s all-time career mark in reception yardage.
    Senior offensive lineman Tucker Peterson (Clarendon, Vt.) was also named first-team and has been a key cog in an offensive line that has helped produce 404.64 yards per game this season, good for seventh best in all of I-AA football. Peterson was also elected a tri-captain for 2006.
    Rounding out the offensive awards, junior wide receiver Keith LeVan (Waltham, Mass.) was named to the Atlantic 10’s third team after finishing as UNH’s second-leading receiver with 56 catches for 528 yards and three receiving touchdowns. He also carried the football 16 times for 108 yards and a touchdown.
    On the defensive side of the football, the Wildcats had three players named third-team all-conference.
    Senior free safety Jeff Pammer (Northampton, Pa.) is one of the hardest hitters in the league and is now second on the squad in tackles (40-39-79). He also recorded two sacks and an interception this season as one of the leaders of the UNH defense.
    Joining Pammer on the squad was sophomore cornerback John Clements (Hammontown, N.J.), who started out inexperienced, but has developed into a veteran of the UNH defensive backfield. Clements finished fourth on the UNH squad in tackles (46-24-70) and he also recorded five tackles for a loss, two interceptions and six pass breakups.
    Junior linebacker Husain Karim (Burlington, Vt.) was a newcomer this season after transferring and has quickly proven to be a prolific tackler and a leader on the field. He leads the team in overall tackles (46-45-91) and is ranked 10th among the top tacklers in the conference standings. Karim, who starts at linebacker alongside his brother Muji, also recorded five tackles for a loss and two sacks this season.
View: Mobile | Desktop