PHILADELPHIA, PA.—Junior quarterback Ricky Santos (Bellingham, Mass.), senior wide receiver David Ball (Orange, Vt.) and senior offensive lineman Tucker Peterson (Clarendon, Vt.) were all named to The Sports Network All-America Offensive squad.
Santos, after recently being named the recipient of the Walter Payton Award as the most outstanding player in I-AA/FCS football, was named to his second All-American squad, as he was also named a Walter Camp All-American.
Santos, the Atlantic 10 Football Conference Co-Offensive Player of the Year, passed for 29 touchdowns this season and led all players in the conference at the end of the regular season with 12 rushing touchdowns. He also topped the 3,000-yard passing mark for the third straight time in his career with 3,125 yards in 2006. Santos completed 293 of 432 pass attempts and threw only seven interceptions, giving him an impressive completion percentage of 67.8. A first-team All-Atlantic 10 selection, he has broken most of UNH’s career passing records and he was named “National Offensive Player of the Week” twice by “The Sports Network”.
One of the most impressive performances of his career came on Sept. 9 at Northwestern, where he was responsible for five touchdowns vs. the other Wildcats, leading UNH to a decisive 34-17 upset over the Big Ten power. Santos then led UNH to the NCAA Division I Football Championships, where he and the Wildcats played in their third straight quarterfinal appearance. UNH, which finished the 2006 season with a 9-4 overall record, is the only team in the Atlantic 10 to advance to the quarterfinals three consecutive times.
Through this week, Santos is ranked third among I-AA/FCS leaders in passing yardage, third in points responsible for (18.92 ppg.), eighth in total offense (269.46 ypg.), and 10th in passing efficiency (147.50).
His career statistics over three seasons are staggering. After starting all but the first contest of 2004 at Delaware, Santos has compiled numbers in three years that many quarterbacks struggle to reach in four. He topped the 10,000 yard passing milestone in 2006 and heads into his senior campaign with 10,240 passing yards. He also enters next season with 99 career passing touchdowns, which already ties him for the Atlantic 10’s all-time lead, while he has rushed for 21 career touchdowns. Since 2004, Santos has completed a school-record 866-1,286 passes. In his 39 games played at UNH, he has helped the Wildcats post an impressive three-year record of 30-9.
Ball had an amazing year for the UNH football team and received tremendous media coverage after breaking several NCAA receiving marks, including the I-AA record for touchdown receptions in a career. He surpassed the mark of NFL legend Jerry Rice, who caught 50 touchdown passes while playing at Mississippi Valley State. Ball completes his career with 58 touchdown catches. Ball also finished second among the NCAA leaders with 4,655 receiving yards and he tied Rice’s mark for 100-yard receiving games with 23. He also finished second all-time among the top I-AA players with 28 games with at least one touchdown catch.
In 2006, Ball led the Atlantic 10 Football Conference with 13 touchdown receptions and was ranked among the top 10 in the nation in nearly every receiving category. His 93 receptions in 2006 broke his own University mark of 87, which he set last season. In addition, he completed his third straight campaign with over 1,000 receiving yards after compiling 1,114 yards in 2006 and averaging 85.7 receiving yards per contest.
His other major honors and awards this season include being named the recipient of the Harry Agganis Award the most outstanding senior in New England, a Walter Camp All-American for the third straight season, an AFCA All-American and an Associated Press first-team All-American. He finished fifth in the voting for the Walter Payton Award and he was named first-team All-Atlantic 10.
Peterson, a third-team selection and a UNH team tri-captain, was the leader of a UNH offensive line that produced 401.1 yards of total offense per game, including 155.7 yards per game on the ground and 245.4 through the air. They protected the quarterback very well, as Santos was sacked just 21 times in 13 games played. Peterson, who moved from defensive line to offensive line as a freshman, was starter over the past four seasons for the Wildcats.
In other news from The Sports Network, UNH was ranked No. 6 in the final Top 25 Poll. Leading the way was Appalachian State, followed by No. 2 Massachusetts. No. 3 Montana, No. 4, Youngstown State, No. 5 North Dakota State and then UNH.