OKLAHOMA CITY--The Jim Thorpe Award Screening Committee in
Cason, a UA junior who has started since his true freshman season and played every snap on defense except for a handful of late-game plays in two games this year, was named Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Week yesterday for his efforts in helping UA win at No. 25 Washington State last week. He had six tackles, broke up a season-high four passes and forced a fumble.
On the season, Cason has two interceptions, is the third-leading tackler for UA with 50 including two for losses, has broken up five passes and recovered a fumble to go with his forced turnover. He has nine career interceptions and 16 passes defensed.
Cason is UA's second consecutive semifinalist, joining 2005 safety Darrell Brooks as a top candidate for the award. One Arizona player has earned the Jim Thorpe Award, cornerback Darryll Lewis in 1990. Unanimous All-American cornerback Chris McAlister was one of three finalists for the award in 1998.
This list will be narrowed on Nov. 20 to three finalists who will be invited to the nationally telecast ESPN College Football Awards Show on Dec. 7. The winner will be announced on the show and the official presentation will be at a formal banquet in
A representative of the award committee was in Tucson a few weeks ago for an informal meeting with Cason, who is among noted candidates for the honor including a member of this week's opponent, California's Daymeion Hughes, and another player UA has seen up close this season -- LSU's LaRon Landry.
Thorpe Award winners are selected for performance on the field, athletic ability and character. Last year’s winner was Texas University standout Michael Huff, now playing for the Oakland Raiders.
The 2006 semi-finalists are:
Antoine Cason, Jr., Arizona
Leon Hall, Sr., Michigan
Daymeion Hughes, Sr., Calfornia
LaRon Landry, Sr., LSU
Marcus McCauley, Sr., Fresno State
Reggie Nelson, Jr., Florida
Darrelle Revis Jr., Pittsburgh
Aaron Ross, Sr., Texas
Antonio Smith, Sr., Ohio State
Eric Weddle, Sr., Utah
Tom Zbikowski, Sr., Notre Dame