For Pace (Fla.) kicker Ryan Santoso, to be a part of the American Family Insurance Selection Tour for the 2013 Under Armour All-America Game came as a huge surprise. The massive 6-foot-5, 270-pound kicker had to earn his spot in the prestigious game. Not just by being a three-year starter on varsity or by connecting on 11-of-14 field goals so far this season, but by winning a kicking competition against some of the top kickers in the country this past summer.
"It was actually at a kicking competition up in Wisconsin, and they told me right on the spot that I was invited," Santoso said. "I beat a guy that's committed to Georgia Tech, so I just couldn't believe it — I was so excited.
"It's been a dream of mine and I'm just truly blessed," he added. "God's given me the talent and with all the hard work that I've put in and the support from my friends and family, it helped pave the way for this to happen."
Santoso, whose longest field goal this fall is 42 yards, said he looks forward to playing in the Under Armour All-America game in January.
"I'm just going to focus on my season right now, but when the time comes, I'm just going to do my thing out there and do what I do best," he said. "It's definitely an honor. It's the hard work I put in. It's representing the school -- it's not a personal thing. It's all the programs that have helped me and it's representing Pace High School."
In addition to his success on the field, Santoso also excels in the classroom. The talented kicker carries a 3.4 GPA and is planning to be a pre-med major in college.
As for which college he will attend, Santoso is still in the early stages of the recruiting process. Though he doesn't have any scholarship offers yet, he has received interest from Alabama and Florida Atlantic and he will take an unofficial visit to Ole Miss Saturday.
Pace head coach Mickey Lindsey says no matter which school Santoso attends, success is sure to follow.
"To be on the national scene, you know, that's a big deal and we are real excited about it and we are proud of Ryan and what he's accomplished," Lindsey said. "We are excited about what the future holds for him."
Lindsey credits Santoso's success with his work ethic and his ability to be a tough critic on himself.
"Well he's had a great three years and I've watched him get better every year," Lindsey said. "I knew as a 10th grader he had tremendous talent because of the way the ball came off of his foot. I think what makes him special is that he's so conscientious of what he does. He takes great pride in it. He works hard and no one puts more pressure on him than himself to be the best he can be. I have nothing but good things to say about him."