Arizona Wildcats recruit Cameron Denson, the multi-purpose threat from Salpointe Catholic High School, is the Arizona Republic’s 2013 Big Schools Football Player of the Year.
Click at azcentral.com for the paper’s All-Arizona high school football team.
Included on the team are Arizona safety recruit Jefferson Hunt, Salpointe linebacker Jake Casteel (son of UA defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel) and Sabino offensive lineman Andrew Mike, who is still considering the Cats.
The Wildcats have two other Arizona Republic state players of the year on their roster — running back Ka’Deem Carey (2009) and receiver Davonte’ Neal (2010), who transferred to UA after spending one season at Notre Dame. Each won the state award as a junior in high school.
Here is the story on Denson from the Republic, our Gannett partner:
By Richard Obert
Cameron Denson says he is open to play any position next football season at the University of Arizona.
That’s a good thing, because Denson could be found just about anywhere on the field during a brilliant career at Tucson Salpointe Catholic.
Just this season, he played receiver, quarterback and cornerback. He also returned kicks. He sparkled everywhere he was put.
“When the lights turn on and the pressure builds, his star shines bright,” Salpointe coach Dennis Bene said. “He’s one of those special kids you get once in a coaching career. When you get those kinds of kids, surrounded by other talented kids, they win championships.”
Denson led Salpointe to a 14-0 record and its first state football championship, saving one of his greatest games for last, quickly changing the complexion of the game with a 98-yard scoring catch in the second quarter and making two huge plays during a two-minute burst in the third quarter against Scottsdale Chaparral in the Division II final at the home he’ll be playing at next season, Arizona Stadium.
After Chaparral closed to within 26-13 in the third quarter, Denson returned the kickoff 84 yards for a touchdown. Then, on Salpointe’s next possession, Denson, blanketed in the end zone, somehow managed to pull down a 34-yard pass with his left hand, while the defender held down his right arm.
“That was one of the best moments of my high school career,” Denson said. “It made our defense play that much more relentless.”
Oh, yeah, Denson was the catalyst on defense, as well, taking back four of his seven interceptions during the season for touchdowns.
Denson, a 6-foot-1, 180-pound senior, has been chosen the 2013 Big Schools (Divisions I through III) Football Player of the Year by azcentral sports, for his efforts. He leads azcentral sports’ American Family Insurance All-USA Arizona team as an all-purpose player.
“There is no one in the state as versatile as Cameron,” Bene said. “In my opinion, he was the top defensive back in the state and in the top three as a wide receiver.”
Denson had 73 catches for 1,453 yards and 19 touchdowns.
When quarterback Andrew Cota was out a couple of games near the end of the regular season, Denson filled in there, throwing three touchdown passes.
Early in the season in Southern California against Crespi, Bene inserted Denson at quarterback to speed tempo on offense.
Denson ran six times for 43 yards and a touchdown, and caught eight passes for 104 yards. He also returned an interception 40 yards for a score in the 47-7 rout. It was in that early September game that Salpointe established itself as among the top two teams in Arizona at any level.
“I was very confident in myself this year,” Denson said. “I had more confidence than ever. My team believed in me. I had to make plays for them. I like doing it all, getting the ball in my hands and seeing what I can do with it.”
At UA, Denson could find himself starting next season at cornerback, if not be involved as a nickel back and even switch over as a slot receiver, and perhaps return kicks.
Bene believes Denson is capable of even greater college success.
“He’s a very fierce competitor,” Bene said. “When you’re around him, he makes things look so easy. Some people think he is at half-speed. But the guy, when he’s on the field and it’s go time, he goes fast. He plays to win. He plays to put you out. He’ll do whatever it takes to help UA win. He brought us the first championship to Salpointe. Don’t be surprised if he brings the first Rose Bowl to UA. He’s the game changer.”