NEW YORK -- Ricky Santos capped one of the most prolific
college careers a quarterback has ever had with an All-America
The New Hampshire quarterback, along with record-breaking
running back Omar Cuff of Delaware, were selected to The Associated
Press Football Championship Subdivision All-America team released Wednesday.
Santos, last season's Walter Payton Award winner as the best
player in what was formerly known as Division I-AA, has led the
Wildcats to the playoffs each season. He threw for 2,972 yards and 24 touchdowns this season and New Hampshire finished 7-5 after an
FCS playoff loss to top-ranked
Santos' 123 career touchdown passes and 13,212 yards passing
ranks third in FCS history behind Alcorn State's Steve McNair and
Grambling State's Bruce Eugene.
Cuff, who will lead the Blue Hens into the national championship
game against Appalachian State, set an FCS record for touchdowns
this season with 38. He's also run for 1,861 yards.
"I'm totally unaware of all that," Cuff said of the records
Wednesday in a phone interview from Chattanooga, Tenn., where the
title game will be played Friday night.
Delaware recruited Cuff as a defensive back, but during his
freshman season the Blue Hens shifted him to offense, where he
wanted to play all along.
"They were low at running back on the scout team," he said. "I was able to take advantage of the opportunity."
With another big game against Appalachian State, Cuff can break
a few more records. He is one touchdown short of Barry Sanders'
Division I record of 39 and with four TDs he can break the all-division record of 41 held set by Mount Union's Dan Ough in
Cuff's teammate, kicker Jon Striefsky, was also a first-team
All-American. Striefsky leads the nation's kickers with 124 points.
Appalachian State, which is trying for a record third straight
national title and began the season by beating Michigan, was
represented on the All-America team by offensive lineman Kerry
Brown and safety Corey Lynch.
Lynch blocked a field goal on the game's final play to preserve
the victory against the Wolverines and Brown is one of two players
to repeat as an All-American. Portland State offensive lineman
Brennan Carvalho was the other two-time All-American.
The rest of the first-team offensive linemen were Chad Rinehart
of Northern Iowa, Mitch Erickson of South Dakota State and
Demetrius Bell of Northwestern State.
Georgia Southern's Jayson Foster, a Payton Award finalist this
season, joined Cuff and Santos in the backfield. The 5-foot-9,
164-pound Foster is second in the nation in touchdowns (24) and
yards rushing per game (167.6).
The other Payton Award finalists were the second- and third-team
quarterbacks. San Diego's Josh Johnson was picked to the second
team and Northern Iowa's Eric Sanders made the third team.
The receivers were Terrell Hudgins of Elon, who leads the nation
in yards receiving with 1,474, and Cal Poly's Ramses Barden, who
has 1,467 yards and is averaging 26 yard per catch.
Blake Martin from Sam Houston State was the first-team tight
Hampton's Jeremy Gilchrist, who has returned three punts for
touchdowns this season, was the all-purpose player.
Joining Lynch in the secondary was James Madison's Tony LeZotte,
a second-team pick last season, along with Bobbie Williams from
Bethune-Cookman and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie from Tennessee
The linebackers were Bobby Daly from Montana State, Brian
Bradford from Towson and Brannon Carter from Northern Iowa, who was
Gateway Conference defensive player of the year.
The defensive line was comprised of four players who were
honored with player of the year awards by their conferences.
Montana's Kroy Biermann, who has 15 sacks, won Big Sky honors
for top defensive player. Brian Johnston of Gardner-Webb was the
Big South's top defensive player. Eric Bakhtiari of San Diego, who
leads the nation with 20 sacks, was the Pioneer League's defensive
player of the year. Bryan Smith of McNeese State was the Southland
Conference player of the year.
Texas State's Chris MacDonald was the All-American punter after
leading the nation with a 46-yard average.