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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Seniors set for final home game

    UA linebacker Spencer Larsen bear hugs his
    UA linebacker Spencer Larsen bear hugs his

    Arizona linebacker Spencer Larsen is the longest tenured Wildcat football player. He’s been around since 2002, two years before his head coach, Mike Stoops, even arrived in Tucson.

    Larsen, who took two years off for his Mormon mission after his freshman season, admits he hasn’t even thought about playing his final home game tomorrow night against No. 2 Oregon on ESPN.

    “”I don’t feel like it’s quite closing in,”” he said. “”That might lead to me getting surprised one day waking up on that Sunday after the ASU game (Dec. 1) and realizing that was it, but we’re still having fun.

    “”It will be fun for my family to be out on the field and to be able to see what I get to see every Saturday.””

    Larsen is one of 11 starting seniors on both sides of the ball and 18 total on the roster who will be honored during senior-night ceremonies before tomorrow’s game at Arizona Stadium.

    Most of the seniors are Stoops’ first recruits, like Antoine Cason, who Stoops still raves about as being his best pick-up.

    “”He’ll go down as one of the great (UA) defensive players with all the rest of those guys, like Tedy (Bruschi), (Chris) McAllister and those guys,”” he said.

    “”His legacy will last a long time. He’s been an impact player in this league for four years, and that’s pretty special, just his production, his consistency … his durability. All those things are pretty unique.””

    Cason arrived in 2004 and has started all 44 games in his Wildcat career, along with Arizona’s other corner, Wilrey Fontenot, who redshirted as a freshman.

    Stoops called Larsen and Cason the backbone of the team.

    “”Those guys are going to be hard to replace,”” he said. “”Their work ethic and the intangibles they bring on a day-to-day basis is something that is very important to your program, and, hopefully, our kids will learn from those guys and the way they go about it.

    “”Sure, they have great talent, they have great awareness on the field, but they work at it every single day and that’s why they’re such great players and that’s a good lesson to learn.””

    Offensive tackle Peter Graniello, also a fifth-year senior, is one of just two starting seniors on offense.

    “”It’s going to be a sad one,”” Graniello said of tomorrow’s game. “”Hopefully, it will be a good way to finish, on national television. I’m excited.””

    “”It’ll be a fun one,”” Larsen said. “”You couldn’t ask for a better scene, a better stage to play my last home game. Definitely, with ESPN coming in and the No. 2 team coming in, it’s going to be fun.””

    Defensive end verbally commits Dominique Austin, a three-star defensive end out of La Puente Bishop Amat in California, is the Wildcats’ 11th verbal commitment in its 2008 class and the second defensive end. lists Austin as the No. 22 overall weakside defensive end and the No. 67 overall player out of California.

    The 6-foot-4, 232-pound Austin told the recruiting Web site he had wanted to go to Arizona all along but he was hesitant when he was recruited as an offensive lineman.

    UA passing game and receivers coach Darrell Wyatt recently asked Austin if he wanted to be a defensive player instead, and Austin jumped at the idea.

    “”I love tackling, hitting that quarterback and punishing the offense,”” Austin told “”God, I hate offense. I want to punish the offense.””

    The Wildcats’ other defensive end verbal commit is Kenny Barnes, a two-star recruit out of Glendale Kellis High School.

    Former DE arrested in Mont.

    Michael Shelton, a defensive end with the Wildcats for two seasons before transferring to Montana during fall camp, was arrested along with two other teammates Sunday after a drug-related house break-in near the school last week after a game against Idaho State.

    Five people were being held in prison on charges of felony robbery and burglary, as well as charges including aggravated kidnapping and assault.

    Shelton appeared in court on a live video feed from jail yesterday. He remains in police custody on $100,000 bail.

    Shelton had been dismissed from Arizona in the fall due to undisclosed disciplinary reasons and had just started practicing for Montana in October.

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