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Virginia tight end Tom Santi has been named a semifinalist for the Draddy Trophy, presented annually by the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF) to an individual as the absolute best in the country for combined academic success, football performance and exemplary community leadership.

A team captain this season, Santi is a sociology major with a 3.35 GPA. He has been named to the All-ACC Academic Football team and the ACC Honor Roll the past two seasons.

In addition to his classroom excellence, Santi also participates in a variety of community service projects in the Charlottesville area. He works with the ACE Program mentoring students at Buford Middle School. He is a regular participant with other football players in visits to the UVa Medical Center, while also volunteering his time in the community through programs at UVa’s Madison House.

He is the team’s leading receiver this season with 22 receptions for 276 yards and three touchdowns. He leads Atlantic Coast Conference tight ends in receiving and ranks 13th nationally. He has been the team’s leading receiver on three occasions this season and was named ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week after scoring two touchdowns to lead the Cavaliers to a 24-13 win over Duke last month.

Former Cavalier linebacker Tom Burns won the Draddy Trophy in 1993.

The NFF Awards Committee will select and announce up to 15 finalists on Oct. 25. Each finalist will be recognized as part of the 2007 National Scholar-Athlete Class, receiving an $18,000 post-graduate scholarship. The Draddy winner, who will receive a $25,000 postgraduate scholarship, will be announced at the NFF’s Annual Awards Dinner on December 4 at the prestigious Waldorf Astoria in New York City. A total distribution of more than $300,000 in scholarships will be awarded that evening.

Virginia (5-1 overall) has a five-game winning streak heading into this weekend’s game against Connecticut Saturday. The game is scheduled to kickoff at 3:30 p.m. and will be televised by ESPNU.

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