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UND FOOTBALL: Santiago nets another All-American honor

UND running back John Santiago's standout freshman season has produced high expectations for a repeat performance. Santiago was the only sophomore named to the STATS FCS Preseason All-America First Team, which was released Monday. The 5-foot-10 r...

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University of North Dakota running back John Santiago runs down the sideline ahead of University of Wyoming linebacker Eric Nzeocha in the first half on Saturday, Sept. 5, 2015 in Laramie, Wyo. Blaine McCartney/Wyoming Tribune Eagle

UND running back John Santiago's standout freshman season has produced high expectations for a repeat performance.

Santiago was the only sophomore named to the STATS FCS Preseason All-America First Team, which was released Monday.

The 5-foot-10 running back and kick returner, who was named to the list as an all-purpose selection, broke UND's single-season record for all-purpose yards as a rookie in 2015, accumulating 2,159 yards in 11 games.

Santiago's freshman year resulted in him being named to the STATS FCS and Associated Press All-America Second Teams as an all-purpose performer and Co-Big Sky Freshman of the Year.

His all-purpose total ranked third among all FCS players in 2015, and he finished with a Big Sky-best 1,459 rushing yards to go along with 571 kickoff return yards (27.7 yards per return).

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"John had a tremendous freshman season and is certainly deserving of this preseason attention," UND coach Bubba Schweigert said. "The best part about John and what I respect most about that young man is his humility. These accolades are great, but they won't change who he is and the work he puts in on a daily basis to help make us a championship football team."

The Andover, Minn., native was one of two Big Sky players named to the first team, joining Eastern Washington wide receiver Cooper Kupp on that squad. Overall, nine Big Sky players were named to the three teams released by STATS.

UND players report for fall camp Wednesday and begin practice for Stony Brook on Friday at 8:30 a.m.

Miller has covered sports at the Grand Forks Herald since 2004 and was the state sportswriter of the year in 2019.

His primary beat is UND football but also reports on a variety of UND sports and local preps.

He can be reached at (701) 780-1121, tmiller@gfherald.com or on Twitter at @tommillergf.
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