NEWPORT BEACH, Calif.--ˇ?The lasting image of the defining moment of the 2006-07 Arizona Wildcat athletic year is Antoine
Mark Stoops was running out of adjectives trying to describe his All-American cornerback Antoine Cason.
ˇ?Heˇ?s a tremendous person, a unique kid, a model citizen,ˇ± said the Arizona football coach and defensive coordinator.? ˇ?Heˇ?s humble and has a fantastic work ethic.? Heˇ?s a relentless competitor and a tireless practice player.? He wants to be great.? Nobody works harder and heˇ?s easy to coach.? Heˇ?s the heart and soul of our team and has been that way since he first walked on our campus.? Heˇ?s the most complete player Iˇ?ve ever been around and the kind of person you want your kid to grow up and be.ˇ±
Cason may not win the fourth annual Lott Trophy (heˇ?s one of 42 players on the watch list), but Stoops might win cheerleader of the year.
Of course, Cason MAY well win The Lott since he does exhibit all those character qualities needed for the award as well as his undeniable football prowess on the field.?
The 6-0, 185-pound senior from Los Alamitos (Ca.), Cason won All Pac-10 honors as a junior, was a semifinalist for The Thorpe Award (the nationˇ?s top defensive back) and is a pre-season All-American for 2007.? The Wildcat team captain is rated the No. 1 defensive back in the country by Rivals.com.? He has started every game heˇ?s suited up for ?C beginning in his freshman season when he was the conferenceˇ?s Frosh Defensive Player of the Year.
That 39-yard return of an interception for a touchdown against Cal may have been a defining moment, but hardly the only one of Casonˇ?s season.? He was the Pac-10 Player of the Week twice and recorded an amazing 62 tackles from his cornerback position.? ˇ?Plus he was matched up against the other teamˇ?s top receiver every week,ˇ± said Stoops.
There were those Wildcat fans who feared Cason and his 4.4 40 speed would opt for the NFL after the 2006 season, but the 21-year-old recognized the unfinished business in Tucson.
"I always said if there was any doubt in my mind, I would come back to school in a heartbeat," Cason said. "The team is shaping up really well and it's a good thing to be a part of."
Cason graduated in December in three-and-a-half years. "It feels good to be that close, and I didn't want that to slip away," Cason said.
"I think his stock is going up and up," Stoops said. "He will be the premier cornerback in college next season."
In addition to all his hard work on the football field, Cason doesnˇ?t rest when the whistle blows.
Heˇ?s the co-president of the Arizona Student-Athlete Advisory Board, ran on the track team last spring and serves as an usher in his church on Sundays.?
ˇ?Football is almost a hobby to Antoine,ˇ± said Stoops.? ˇ?He will lead a very successful and full life whenever his football career is over in whatever endeavor he applies himself to.ˇ±
Cason's Year-by-Year Numbers