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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Cason eyes revenge for recruiting snub

    Junior cornerback Antoine Cason puts a hit on Stephen F. Austin wide receiver Dominique Edison Saturday at Arizona Stadium. Cason will have bigger fish to fry this week in USC wide receivers Dwayne Jarrett and Steve Smith.
    Junior cornerback Antoine Cason puts a hit on Stephen F. Austin wide receiver Dominique Edison Saturday at Arizona Stadium. Cason will have bigger fish to fry this week in USC wide receivers Dwayne Jarrett and Steve Smith.

    As he racked up prep accolades only 30 minutes away from the USC campus, Antoine Cason figured he’d have at least one suitor in his back pocket come recruitment time.

    In the end, the only calls he got were long-distance.

    The junior cornerback, who earned first-team all-division honors at Los Alamitos High School in Long Beach, Calif., received three scholarship offers from Pacific 10 Conference schools – Washington, Oregon State and Arizona – and one from Colorado.

    “”UCLA said nothing to me as well,”” he said. “”I grew up right in their backyard, so it’s kind of funny.””

    In the Arizona football team’s matchup with the No. 3 Trojans tomorrow, Cason will get his first crack at USC at home, on the field of the school that showed him the love he didn’t get locally.

    Cason’s also using the opportunity of a nationally televised game to show why he was considered one of the nation’s top defensive backs entering the fall.

    His performance so far, he said – complete with missed tackles and small coverage blunders – hasn’t lived up to the billing.

    “”I’m not going to say I’m unhappy with the way I’ve played the last two games, but I need to fix some things that I see that I’m unhappy with,”” said Cason, who has an interception and a forced fumble this season. “”I had a good fall camp and all that, but it needs to show on the field. I need to play a little harder, and this week should start it. I’m looking forward to it.””

    The junior is also anticipating lining up against his biggest rival on offense: 6-foot-5 junior wide receiver Dwayne Jarrett, who has averaged 130 yards and two touchdowns a game during Cason’s time with the Wildcats.

    Cason said the team has tried to give Jarrett, a consensus All-American last season, a number of looks within the defense in the past. Consequently, he hasn’t been matched up with him much one-on-one.

    If tomorrow’s game goes like it has in Cason’s video-game excursions against the Trojans, however, Jarrett could become the one being made an example of.

    “”He’s a pretty good receiver, I think I’m a pretty good DB,”” Cason said. “”I think I’m ready for the challenge.””

    Arizona’s active depth chart is rife with California blood – 22 of the 53 athletes listed hail from the state – and Cason said he knows of a few teammates who will be itching to shine against a program that didn’t have them on its recruitment radar either.

    One who was targeted, sophomore defensive end Michael Shelton, said he’s just looking forward to playing against guys he competed with growing up in Compton, Calif.

    “”We all played Pop Warner against each other, so we’ve known each other for a long time,”” said Shelton, whose friends on the Trojans’ roster include former high school teammate Chilo Rachal, an offensive lineman. “”It’ll be real good playing against them (tomorrow).””

    Cason said he understands the politics that went into his local snub, as both USC and UCLA look at athletes from all across the country.

    Still, he’ll be eager to show the Trojans what they’ve missed in a two-time All-Pac-10 performer.

    “”They’ve won 47 of 49 without Cason. I guess they didn’t do too bad,”” he said. “”I’m just going to show them that I was there, and I’m here now, and I’m going to play hard.””

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