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GREENSBORO, N.C. Virginia tight end Tom Santi has been named the recipient of the 2007 James E. Tatum Award, Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner John Swofford announced today. The Tatum Award is given annually in memory of the late Jim Tatum to the top senior student-athlete among the league’s football players. Tatum, a two-time ACC Coach of the Year, coached in the fifties at both Maryland and North Carolina and believed strongly in the concept of the student-athlete.

“This is a very special honor and I am humbled to be selected,” said Santi. “There are a number of very deserving players, who I regard very highly in the ACC, who are also worthy of this recognition. All student-athletes are provided such tremendous support from our coaches, teammates and the various support staffs. I share this recognition with them for all the time and sacrifice they put forth to allow us to pursue our goals, both academically and in athletics.”

Santi, a native of Nashville, Tenn., is a three-year starter for the Cavaliers and was named to the second-team All-ACC football team earlier this week. He is currently the third-leading receiver in Virginia history for a tight end with 94 career receptions for 1,168 yards and six touchdowns. A team captain this season, Santi has led the team in receiving three times this fall and eight times during his career. He is the fifth tight end in school history to reach the 1,000-yard receiving plateau.

A member of the 2006 ACC All-Academic Football Team, he currently has a career 3.35 GPA in his major of sociology. In addition to his academic achievements, Santi is the co-founder of a community service program called “Athletes Committed to Community and Education,” which is designed to promote academic success, support character education and develop leadership qualities.

“There is a reason why the award going to an individual who embodies numerous outstanding qualities is named after Jim Tatum, who established a legacy of performance and integrity during the formative years of the ACC,” said Virginia head football coach Al Groh. “Tom is a player, teammate, leader and student who Jim Tatum would be impressed with and proud of. He stands for everything we prize about Virginia football.”

Santi is the fourth UVa player to receive the Tatum Award, joining former standouts Tom Burns (1993), Stephen Phelan (1997) and Noel LaMontagne (1999).

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