June 7, 2013
NEW ORLEANS - While the Tulane University football season is still three months away, the preseason honors have become rolling in for the Green Wave as senior kicker Cairo Santos claimed first-team All-American accolades and a total of eight student-athletes claimed preseason All-Conference USA recognition by the publication.
Santos is joined on the Phil Steele all-conference first team by senior wideout Ryan Grant. Senior running back Orleans Darkwa claimed second-team honors, senior defensive tackle Chris Davenport, sophomore safety Darion Monroe and sophomore punter Peter Picerelli each claimed a spot on the third team, while senior offensive lineman Zach Morgan and sophomore cornerback Lorenzo Doss garnered fourth-team recognition.
A three-year letterman from Brazilia, Brazil, Santos enters his senior season atop the Tulane career record book in field goal percentage (.818) while ranking third in points scored kicking (226), tied for third in field goals made (45), fourth in PATs made (91), fifth in total points scored, PAT attempts (94), sixth in PAT percentage (.968) and seventh in field goal attempts (55). Last season, he won the Lou Groza National Place-Kicker Award, was tabbed College Football Performance National Kicker of the year and was named consensus All-American after leading the team in points scored (89) by going a perfect 21-for-21 in field goals and 26-of-27 on PATs.
Santos scored a career-high 13 points after hitting both field goal attempts and all seven PATs vs. UAB on Oct. 27. He was named C-USA and Louisiana Special Teams Player of the Week, as well as College Football Performance Award National Kicker of the Week following an 11-point effort when he was 2-for-2 with the record 57-yarder and 5-for-5 in PATs vs. Rice. Santos also claimed Lou Groza Star of the Week honors after tallying 11 points with two PATs and field goals of 45, 43 and 30 yards at Memphis on Nov. 10.
Grant joins Santos on the Phil Steele first-team All C-USA squad and enters his final collegiate season ranking sixth in Tulane history with nine 100-yard receiving games, eighth with 14.54 yards per catch, 11th with 1,730 receiving yards and 13th with 12 touchdown catches.
As a redshirt-junior a year ago, he claimed first-team All C-USA by the league office and Phil Steele Publications, as well as second-team All-Louisiana after leading the team with 76 catches, 1,149 receiving and all-purpose yards, and six touchdown grabs. He paced C-USA and sat 16th nationally in receiving yards per game (95.75) and his yardage total ranks fifth in Tulane single-season history.
Grant tallied double-digit catch contests in each of the final three games, including a career-best 13 - which is tied for the fourth-most in school history - for 108 yards at Houston on Nov. 24. He pulled down 11 passes for 113 yards and a touchdown at Memphis on Nov. 10 and hauled in 10 catches for 94 yards vs. East Carolina on Nov. 17. Grant posted 100-plus receiving yards seven times, including a career-high 184 while tying a career-best with two touchdowns on six grabs vs. UAB on Oct. 27.
Darkwa's selection comes following an injury-plagued 2012 campaign which limited him to nine games and five starts when he had a team-best three rushing touchdowns while carrying the ball 81 times for 241 yards and pulling down 15 receptions for 78 yards through the air. His best day last season came vs. UAB on Oct. 27 when he ran 20 times for 74 yareds while catching three passes for 20 yards in the Green Wave's win.
For his career, Darkwa ranks fourth in Tulane history with 27 rushing touchdowns, is tied for fifth with seven 100-yard rushing games, eighth with 2,090 rushing yards and 63.33 rushing yards per game, and tied for 3ighth with 475 rushing attempts.
Davenport claims third-team honors from Phil Steele based on reputation as he spent the previous three seasons at LSU playing mostly along the offensive line. A five-star recruit and one of the mostly highly recruited players out of Mansfield (La.) High School back in 2009, Davenport redshirted as a true freshman and played in 23 games for the Tigers.
He helped LSU go a combined 44-6 and earn bowl bids in each of the last three seasons, including a 13-1 mark, an SEC title and a spot in the BCS National Championship Game as a sophomore in 2011. A graduate student at Tulane, Davenport will move back to his original position and will be eligible to play right away courtesy of the NCAA fifth-year graduate transfer rule.
Monroe started all 12 games last year as a true freshman, earned honorable-mention Freshman All-America honors from College Football News and claimed a spot on the C-USA All-Freshman Team after leading the team with 96 tackles (60 solo, 36 assists) and three fumble recoveries while sitting tied for eighth in with 2.5 tackles for loss.
He posted five double-digit tackle performances, including a career-best 13 (10 solo, 3 assists) vs SMU on Oct. 13. He had 12 tackles twice - all solo vs Ole Miss on Sept. 22 and six solo, six assists to go with a 1.5 tackles for loss at Houston on Nov. 24 - and 10 stops (3 solo, 7 assists) in addition to a fumble recovery at UTEP on Oct. 20. Mornoe recovered a pair of fumbles, including one returned 54 yards for a touchdown, and nine tackles (5 solo, 4 assists) at Memphis.
Picerelli rounds out Tulane's third-team honorees and is coming off a solid freshman year of his own when he led the team with 69 punts for 2,846 yards with eight boots of 50-plus yards, dropping 16 inside opponents' 20-yard line and forcing 13 fair catches.
He finished seventh in C-USA and 52nd nationally with a 41.25 yard-per-punt average and posted career highs with 10 punts, 403 yards, four inside the 20 and a pair of 50-yarders - including a career-long 70-yard boot - at Tulsa on Sept. 8. Picerelli averaged 40.0-plus yards per punt nine times, including a season-best 47.2 yards on four punts vs. Rice on Nov. 3.
Morgan missed the 2012 season with a shoulder injury, but brings a wealth of experience to the squad this year after playing in 34 games with 27 starts to date with the Green Wave. As a junior in 2011, he played in all 13 games with 10 starts at right guard. He helped the offense average 137.5 rushing and 196.2 passing yards per game as a starter and was instrumental in the team rolling up a season-best 540 yards, including 262 on the ground, at UAB. He helped Darkwa surpass the 100-yard rushing mark twice and Ryan Griffin throw for at least 300 yards once.
Doss, meanwhile, played in all 12 games with nine starts last season as a true freshman and claimed C-USA All-Freshman and honorable-mention All C-USA honors. He led the team with five interceptions - the most ever by a Tulane freshman and a number which ranks seventh in Green Wave single-season history - while finishing tied for second with a fumble recovery, seventh with 44 tackles (33 solo, 11 assists) and tied for seventh with a pair of pass break-ups.
He ranked tied for second in the conference and tied for 13th with 0.42 interceptions per game, and was named Louisiana co-Defensive Player of the Week after picking off a pair of passes and tallying a career-high six tackles (3 solo, 3 assists) vs. UAB on Oct. 27. Doss also had six-tackle performances on three other occasions: all solo at Louisiana-Lafayette on Oct. 6 and 4 solo, two assists at UTEP on Oct. 20 and vs. Rice on Nov. 3.
The Green Wave open the 2013 campaign on Friday, Aug. 29, when they play host to Jackson State at 7 p.m. in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. For season ticket information, contact the Tulane University Athletics Ticket Office at 504-861-WAVE (9283) or on the Internet at www.TulaneGreenWave.com. Tickets can also be purchased in person by stopping by the ticket office on the first floor of the James W. Wilson, Jr. Center.