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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Cason wins Jim Thorpe Award

    Antoine Cason said a year ago he wanted to come back to play his senior season for the Arizona football team to play in a bowl game and to get another shot at winning the Jim Thorpe Award.

    He didn’t get the bowl, but he won the award Thursday night on a nationally televised college football awards show in Orlando, Fla. The trophy is an annual award that goes to the best defensive back in the country.

    Last season Cason was a semifinalist but didn’t crack the final three. This year Cason beat out LSU’s Craig Steltz and Boston College’s Jamie Silva to become the second player in UA history to win the award (Darryll Lewis, 1990), despite receiving only 17 percent of the ESPN online fan vote.

    “”It’s a tremendous honor for me to win this award,”” Cason said in a press release. “”Looking at the past winners, it is truly humbling to be in their company. I’d like to thank the Jim Thorpe Award committee for allowing me to be a part of their great tradition.

    “”My teammates and I put in a lot of hard work all year and I’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.””

    Cason finished his senior season with five interceptions, 14 pass breakups and 71 tackles. He finished fourth on the Wildcat roster in scoring, despite not playing a single down on offense as he had two interception returns and two punt returns for touchdowns.

    He also joined another elite company on Thursday, getting named to the Walter Camp All-American team, the first UA player since 1999 to achieve such status.

    Cason will almost certainly join the UA’s Ring of Honor at Arizona Stadium next season that will place him among the immortals in Wildcat history.

    He appeared choked up when ESPN’s Chris Fowler asked him about his “”Cason Cares”” foundation that raised money for the American Cancer Society in honor of his late grandfather, who died in February.

    Cason was joined in Orlando by his parents and head coach Mike Stoops, who has called the cornerback his most prized Arizona recruit.

    Stoops has now coached three defensive backs to the Thorpe Award. Oklahoma’s Derrick Strait (2003) and Roy Williams (2001) won the honor with Stoops as the Sooner defensive coordinator.

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

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