It’s official… Cairo Santos is the best kicker in college football for the 2012 season.
The 21-year-old Tulane University kicker, who was born in Brazil and played high school football in Florida, has won this year’s Lou Groza Collegiate Place Kicker Award.
Santos beat out fellow finalists Dustin Hopkins from Florida State University and Caleb Sturgis from the University of Florida.
Tulane may have gone 2-10 this season, but Santos proved to be incredibly valuable to the Green Wave this season and was one of the team’s few bright spots.
Every time Santos came out to attempt a field goal, he converted. He made all 21 of his attempts, including a 57-yarder against Rice University to tie a school record.
“I just had such a good feeling about the kick … perfect snap, perfect hold, perfect operation,” said Santos about that remarkable kick. “It was amazing, one of the best balls I’ve ever hit in my life.”
In all, Santos has 12 kicks of 40 yards or longer.
Current NFL kickers Sebastian Janikowski, Mike Nugent, Kai Forbath and Dan Bailey are all past winners of the award, and this honor gives Santos an excellent chance to take his career to the next level.
While being a professional kicker is certainly not a stable job, NFL teams always have room for a reliable player with a big leg, and Santos has proven this season that he has both of those qualities.
The Green Wave junior is the second kicker from Tulane to win the honor, joining Seth Marler in 2001.