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Cason Thorpe Win
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 12/06/2007
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TUCSON, Ariz. ?C Arizona senior cornerback Antoine Cason was named the winner of the Jim Thorpe Award Thursday night before a nationally televised audience at the 17th Annual ESPN College Awards Show in Orlando, Fla.

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Cason, who eschewed an opportunity in the 2006 NFL draft to return to Arizona for his senior season, becomes the just the second Wildcat player to be honored with the award (Darryll Lewis, 1990) and is just the third Pacific-10 player ever and the first for the conference since Lewis in 1990.

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The Thorpe Award, presented annually to the nation's best college defensive back, is one of college football's most sought after and prestigious awards. It is named after history's greatest all-around athlete, a man who excelled as a running back, passer and kicker on offense, but also was an awesome defensive back. Recognized in the Pro Football Hall of Fame simply as "The Legend", Thorpe also played professional baseball and won Olympic gold medals in the decathlon and pentathlon.

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ˇ?Itˇ?s a tremendous honor for me to win this award,ˇ± Cason said. ˇ?Looking at the past winners, it is truly humbling to be in their company. Iˇ?d like to thank the Jim Thorpe Award committee for allowing me to be a part of their great tradition.

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ˇ?My teammates and I put in a lot of hard work all year and Iˇ?d like to share this honor with them, as well as my coaches, the athletic administration, the students at Arizona and the great Wildcat fans in Tucson and elsewhere.ˇ±

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A two-time team captain, Cason wrapped up his final season in Tucson with a team-high five interceptions, 14 passes broken up and 71 total tackles. He scored two touchdowns on interception returns and a pair on punt returns in 2007 to become Arizonaˇ?s fourth-leading scorer for the year despite not playing on offense.

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Cason, who?additionally became first Walter Camp and The?Sporting News first-team All-American at UA?since 1999, wrapped up his four-year Wildcat career fourth all-time in Arizona history with 15 interceptions, including three for touchdowns, 32 passes defended and 253 total tackles. He started all 46 games in his career and missed only a handful of snaps in games that had already been decided.

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A strong contributor to the Tucson community as a whole, Cason started the ˇ®Cason Caresˇ± campaign this past fall and recently presented a check for $5,000 to the American Cancer Society in memory of his grandfather, Royce Rambo, who lost his battle with the disease last February.

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A political science major, Cason is on schedule to graduate in four years this coming May.

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Cason becomes the third Thorpe Award winner to play under current Arizona head coach Mike Stoops. Oklahomaˇ?s Derrick Strait (2003) and Roy Williams (2001) were feted with the honor under Stoopsˇ? tutelage as the Soonersˇ? defensive coordinator.

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ˇ?Iˇ?m very proud Antoine and of his career at Arizona,ˇ± Stoops said. ˇ?He had a great four years with us and Iˇ?m very pleased he has been recognized for his efforts. Heˇ?s a role model for everyone and Iˇ?m very proud of the way he represents his family and the University of Arizona.ˇ±

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