WALNUT CREEK, Calif.--Junior cornerback Antoine Cason and seniors Nick Folk and Syndric Steptoe earned first-team All-Pacific-10 Conference Football Team honors today in a vote of league coaches.
Cason, a two-time Pac-10 Player of the Week this year, earned first-team defense honors while Folk made the team as the punter and receiver Steptoe as the kick returner among first-team specialists. Junior linebacker Spencer Larsen, junior defensive end Louis Holmes and senior safety Michael Johnson were named to the second team.
It was Arizona's largest selection of top players since three in 2002 earned first-team honors -- linebacker Lance Briggs, receiver Bobby Wade and special teams player Ray Well. Overall, the six players honored was UA's biggest group since seven players were named in 1999. Two of those, tailback Trung Canidate and receiver Dennis Northcutt, were first-team picks.
Cason repeated, after earning second-team honors last year. Three others received honorable mention last year -- Steptoe as a receiver, Folk as a place kicker, and Johnson. Thomas was Pac-10 co-Freshman of the Year for 2005.
Arizona's progress under Mike Stoops is underscored by the annual vote of coaches in the selection of the team. In his first year, 2004, only safety Darrell Brooks made the squad, as a second-teamer. Last year four Wildcats were picked -- Brooks on the first team and defensive end Copeland Bryan, Cason and punter Danny Baugher.
NOTES... The Cats have had three or more first-team picks 13 different years since Arizona's affiliation with the league began in 1978... The Wildcats' biggest historical contingent of first-team all-league honors came in 1994, with Tedy Bruschi, Sean Harris, Brandon Sanders, Steve McLaughlin, Ontiwaun Carter and Warner Smith... USC had eight 2006 first-team picks, plus a co-freshman of the year... The Pac-10 offensive player of the year was Marshwan Lynch of California, while his teammate Daymeion Hughes, a cornerback, earned Pat Tillman defensive player of the year honors. USC Coach Pete Carroll was named Coach of the Year...