April 24, 2006

Spring Hot Five Part III

During Arizona's Spring Game there were several players that impressed but five stood out the most to us. At the end of each scrimmage, we rank our top five from the day. The Wildcat that earned the top spot for Saturday's game will surprise everyone except those that saw the scrimmage in person.

1. Nick Folk - Folk had the play of the game during this Saturday's Spring Game when he lined up for a 62-yard field goal with the wind behind him and sent the ball sailing through the uprights.

Folk has been getting rave reviews as of late due to his leg strength. He had a very good season last year and after this spring it looks as though his best football is yet to come.

With the experience and strength Folk brings to the position it is conceivable that he will be a big factor in some close wins for Arizona this upcoming season that in the past would have been losses.

2. Antoine Cason - Although Cason could routinely be put in the top five performers after any given practice or scrimmage, his play on Saturday could not be denied. Cason completely took away half of the field and close to all the attempts towards his side were unsuccessful.

He really elevated his game this past spring and along with Michael Johnson has assumed a leadership role for the defense. On one poor throw by Adam Austin, Cason stayed in coverage and shifted his weight in the air to come down with the interception.

Not one scrimmage went by without having a secondary player in the top five showing why this was and is going to be the team's strongest unit.

3. Mike Thomas - Thomas had a very good showing on Saturday, reminding Arizona fans about the deadly combination of Thomas's speed with Willie Tuitama's arm strength. Thomas caught three passes for 55 yards and one touchdown on a big play in which the speedster never gave up and finally got open.

His willingness to complete every play along with his ability to catch the ball really supplement his speed to make him the big time player Arizona needs.

4. Yaniv Barnett - Barnett deserves mentioning for his play throughout the spring as well as his game on Saturday. He has really changed as a player over the past few seasons and really looks poised, along with Lionel Dotson, to make some noise on the defensive front next season.

Barnett rarely gets pushed around on the line and has the ability to stop the run, which was a big problem last season. He had two tackles for a loss and one sack on the day.

Arizona is hoping to add star defensive tackle Gabe Long into the lineup in the fall, although regardless of what happens, following this spring it appears Arizona's defensive line is going to be very talented.

5. Syndric Steptoe - The ever-consistent Steptoe did what he always does during Arizona's Spring Game. He ran great routes, caught everything thrown to him, and quietly put together 61 yards.

Steptoe is heading into his senior season and it is looking to be his best. Along with Thomas, Arizona has two very talented speedy receivers.

If Arizona can have one of the incoming freshmen step up the way Steptoe and Thomas have in the past then the Wildcats will present a very deadly receiving corps.

Honorable Mention:

6. Michael Shelton
7. Michael Johnson
8. Spencer Larsen
9. Ronnie Palmer
10. Kyle McQuown

* Look for upcoming articles on the top five players from the spring from each side of the ball as well as the top five most improved players here on GOAZCATS.com.

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