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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Star cornerback Cason to return

    Star cornerback Cason to return

    Antoine Cason isn’t going anywhere.

    The junior cornerback who had filed exploratory paperwork with the NFL regarding the draft announced yesterday that he will return to school for his senior campaign next season, saying that he “”came here with the mindset to … be a part of a team that’s turning a program around.””

    “”What I saw last year, it really influenced me.”” Cason said of Arizona’s late-season turnaround. “”I didn’t want to help, help, help and then leave before we got to our goals.””

    “”I feel this program is headed in the right direction real soon, and I want to be a part of that,”” he added.

    But the Long Beach, Calif., native couldn’t resist giving his head coach, Mike Stoops, a little scare on Wednesday.

    “”I’m really excited about – I wasn’t for a minute (Wednesday) when he told me he was leaving,”” Stoops said. “”My heart started to flutter, in a bad way. He held it out on me for about a minute, so I was pretty upset at the time.””

    Said a smiling Cason: “”I had to get him one good time before he gets back at me.””

    Cason finished with 62 tackles, seven pass breakups and tied for the team lead with three interceptions. He was also a semi-finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award this past season, given each year to the nation’s top defensive back.

    “”I think his stock is going to go up and up,”” Stoops said. “”I think he’s the premier corner coming back next year.””

    A number of mock drafts had Cason going early in the first round of April’s NFL Draft, and the potential of a high selection was intriguing to the corner.

    “”There was a point where – of course, you really think about it,”” Cason said. “”But I was always taught patience in my life, and I feel that there were some goals that I still wanted to achieve in college football, such as the Thorpe Award.

    “”Nothing is guaranteed with the NFL. You never know,”” he added later. “”I always said if there was any doubt in my mind, I would come back to school in a heartbeat.””

    Cason is scheduled to graduate a semester early in December of this year with a degree in political science.

    “”He has a chance to go out like a Tedy Bruschi – all the great ones here. That’s the type of player he is,”” Stoops said. “”If we can accomplish and keep building off of what we did last year, then his legacy will be cemented.

    “”When we get this thing turned around, people are going to associate that with him.””

    Holmes also to stay

    Stoops also said yesterday that junior defensive end Louis Holmes, who also filed exploratory paperwork with the NFL, will return for his senior season.

    “”All indications are that all the guys that we planned on having back are back,”” Stoops said. “”Louis is in full-time classes and is excited about having his senior year.

    “”I think Louis knows he needs a year to refine some of his skills. As good as he was, in a year’s period of time, he’ll be twice as good.””

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