Expect Diverse Roles For Santi

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Tom Santi had 29 catches for 253 yards last season.

In some ways, Tom Santi is getting a bum rap. After all, the prevailing view among the Wahoo faithful seems to be that he had an average – at best – to an awful – at worst – season in 2006. But statistically the tight end had his best season as a Cavalier and he is Virginia’s returning leader in receptions, yards, and receiving touchdowns.

So what gives? Did Santi play well or poorly? Probably a bit of both.

At times, he was a featured part of the offense and he produced solid numbers. At others, he was helping block on the line so he wasn’t an option at all. Sometimes, he was an option and didn’t produce, dropping a number of passes that stick in people’s memory.

Still, the season wasn’t a disaster like some might think. Santi hauled in 29 catches for 253 yards and a touchdown, making him the team’s leading returnee in all three categories (Jason Snelling and Fontel Mines have exhausted eligibility, while Kevin Ogletree could miss the season following ACL surgery).

The 29 receptions nearly matched his previous two-year career total of 32. Santi also had four games with at least three receptions, matching his career output to that point – he had one in 2004 and three in 2005.

But what about the yards? Santi’s 253 yards receiving fell well behind his 2005 production of 358 yards. That’s a deceptive line, though. After all, Santi’s regular season numbers from 2005 look rather similar to 2006 – 14 catches, 230 yards, 2 touchdowns. The Music City Bowl is where Santi soared, helping the Cavaliers win with an impressive 5 catches for 128 yards.

Of course, that bowl outing is where the expectations for Santi rose as well. (And it certainly doesn’t help that he is following Heath Miller’s time at UVa.) But a lot of things changed from the Music City Bowl. Among them: a new quarterback and a rebuilt and inexperienced offensive line. The

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