Tulane’s Cairo Santos named finalist for Lou Groza Award

NEW ORLEANS — It’s been a record-breaking season for Tulane’s Cairo Santos, and Monday the junior place-kicker was named as a finalist for the Lou Groza Award, given to the nation’s top kicker.

Santos, a native of Sao Paulo, Brazil, who prepped as an exchange student at St. Joseph’s Academy in St. Augustine, Fla., joins fellow finalists Caleb Sturgis of Florida and Dustin Hopkins of Florida State. Both Santos and Sturgis played at high schools in St. Augustine, Fla.

Santos is a 20 for 20 on field-goal attempts this season, including a 12 from 40-plus yards and two from beyond 50 yards.

His 12 field goals of 40 or more yards are two more than anyone in the nation, and he has hit 24 of 25 extra points (one was blocked).

With one game remaining, Santos has a chance to join 1996 Groza winner Marc Primanti as the only kickers in FBS history to make every field goal in a season in which they attempted 20 or more.

Santos has the two longest 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. He also had a 54-yarder against ULM.