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Rookie CBs for Cowboys, Chargers making debuts together

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Deb, Aug 9, 2008.

  1. Deb

    Deb BoltTalker

    Jul 10, 2007
    [SIZE=+2]Rookie CBs for Cowboys, Chargers making debuts together

    [/SIZE] 11:53 PM CDT on Friday, August 8, 2008

    By BRIAN DAVIS / The Dallas Morning News

    SAN DIEGO – When Antoine Cason and Orlando Scandrick played together at Los Alamitos High School in California, all they thought about was playing college football.

    Cason became a star at Arizona, and Scandrick excelled at Boise State. They kept in touch over the years, and then all they thought about was playing in the NFL.

    Both cornerbacks will see their dream come true tonight at Qualcomm Stadium when the Cowboys play their preseason opener against the Chargers. Cason, the Chargers' first-round draft pick, and Scandrick, the Cowboys' fifth-round selection, almost can't believe they'll be making their NFL debuts together.

    "Coming from high school you don't really think too much about playing for the

    Chargers and the Cowboys," Cason said. "It's just the next step – college. But now that it's here, it's pretty crazy for us to be in the position that we're in."

    Cason and Scandrick, two rookies who even share the same agent, always thought they'd make this journey with a third person, Randy Estes.

    Estes was widely considered one of the nation's best recruits, right alongside Adrian Peterson, Ted Ginn Jr. and Early Doucet. In 2003, then-Oklahoma assistant Mike Stoops came by the school to recruit Estes. He saw an amazing athlete all right. As it turned out, Stoops was actually watching Cason.

    When Stoops left OU to become the head coach at Arizona, he made Cason one of his first oral commitments. Cason blossomed in the Pac-10, and last season he won the Jim Thorpe Award.

    Estes' play brought other coaches to campus, and they eventually noticed Scandrick. He was a year behind Cason in high school and played receiver. When Cason left for Arizona, Scandrick played both sides of the ball – receiver and Cason's old cornerback spot.

    The following year, Scandrick signed with Boise State. In 2005, the starting cornerback got injured on the opening kickoff against Georgia. Scandrick stepped into the lineup and never looked back. He started 38 of 39 games, including Boise State's now-legendary Tostitos Fiesta Bowl victory over Oklahoma.

    In the days leading up to the draft, Boise State coach Chris Peterson said Scandrick would be better served by staying for his senior year. After racking up 152 tackles and four interceptions in three years, Scandrick felt he was ready now.

    "I've just got something to prove," Scandrick said. "A lot of people wrote me off and didn't think I was prepared. They called me all kinds of different things – a raw athlete, a developmental project. That kind of stuff touched me.
    "I'm out to prove that I'm not a developmental project."

    The Cowboys have discovered that Scandrick is quiet. He's learning his playbook, though. During one meeting, secondary coach Dave Campo asked a question. The players' response: total silence.

    Scandrick eventually piped up with the correct answer. Campo had Scandrick repeat himself multiple times, growing louder each time, for the entire room. Coach Wade Phillips said just the fact Scandrick knew the answer was impressive in itself.
    "He's one of the quieter guys out here," Campo said. "I think he's very, very serious about what's going on here."

    Cason and Scandrick have talked frequently during training camp. The Chargers and Cowboys have similar defensive styles. Since both play the same position, it's natural they trade tips and techniques.

    Cason's in a better position with the Chargers. He signed a five-year contract worth slightly more than $12 million. Scandrick received a four-year deal worth $1.89 million.

    So while Cason and Scandrick start their NFL careers, one question still remains.
    What about Estes?

    Estes signed a letter of intent with Washington State. But Estes was arrested for possession of marijuana with intent to sell, and he failed to meet the SAT requirements. He never played college football, and Estes' whereabouts are unknown.
    "Randy, he was phenomenal, man," Scandrick said. "He was fast, strong, the top-rated safety in high school."

    Cason said: "I don't really like talking about Randy too much anymore. It just upsets me that he's not here with us."

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