In the interim, names such as Tony Bouie, Brandon Sanders, and David Fipp have kept the tradition alive, but it's doubtful if any of those standouts had a better combination of speed, strength and size than a young man from Houston named Lamon Means. Cat Tracks spoke to the soft-spoken Texan on a Sunday night after he had just returned from church.
CT: Lamon, did you get out to Tucson for spring ball?
LM: No sir, I didn't. I only went there on my recruiting trip.
CT: How many recruiting trips did you take?
LM: I took three visits prior to my visit to Arizona. I just felt comfortable with the coach and the players at Arizona.
CT: Where were your other trips?
LM: I went to Syracuse, Purdue and Oklahoma State.
CT: What did you think of Tucson?
LM: Tucson is really nice. The weather is different because it's hot, but here (Houston) it's really hot and we have humidity.
CT: What coach recruited you?
LM: Coach Rob Ianello recruited me.
CT: Did you go to that same high school that a lot of our players went to?
LM: Galena Park is where I went. We're in the same school district but it's two different schools. You're thinking of like Michael Jolivette. He went to Galena Park North Shore.
CT: Do the two schools play each other in football?
LM: We don't play them because they are 5A and we're 4A.
CT: How did your team do this year?
LM: We had a down year. We were projected to make the playoffs but we went 4-6.
CT: You also played on offense didn't you?
LM: Yes sir, I played running back and wide receiver on offense.
CT: Did you like playing offense?
LM: My primary position was free safety. It was like we had a guy that was real good playing running back but I played when he got tired.
CT: Did you play any other sports?
LM: No sir, just football.
CT: When did you start playing football?
LM: I started playing in 1992 in youth football. I mean in Texas, and in Houston, football is like everybody's life. Football is Texas.
CT: Do you think you'll be playing as a true frosh?
LM: Yes sir, I anticipate playing as a freshman.
CT: What's your size and speed?
LM: I'm 6-3 and 190 and I run a 4.45 forty.
CT: How would you describe your play as a free safety?
LM: I'm like aggressive. I like the contact and I fly to the ball.
CT: What player was your host on your recruiting visit?
LM: Michael Jolivette was my host.
CT: What are your thoughts on the future of Arizona football?
LM: They say that the defense in the spring game went good. I think I can come in and help us with what we're trying to accomplish.
CT: Did you get to watch any of the special on Arizona Football on ESPN?
LM: I caught a few minutes of the special on Arizona football. I saw the part where Tony Banks was talking about Coach Mackovic, and the guys thanking the coaches. I remember that defensive tackle thanking the coaches and thanking Coach Long. I think Coach Long is like one of the reasons why I came. We had a good conversation when I visited.
CT: Why do you think Arizona has been getting so many players from Texas lately?
LM: The Texas schools, they don't really recruit regular players, they only recruit Blue Chippers, but Arizona has been out there recruiting me and watching me since the eleventh grade.
CT: What awards did you receive this year?
LM: I was defensive player of the year in my conference and a candidate for top Player Of The Year in the Houston area; I was in the final top 8 in the Houston area for POY. I was a unanimous All-Area.
CT: Well Lamon, that sounds pretty much like a Blue Chipper?
LM: I think they go more by your stats to determine a Blue Chipper. I was not an interception specialist as a free safety. I had about 105 tackles and 85 solo tackles. I am the type of free safety who would rather come up and put a hit on you and cause a fumble rather than go for the interception.
CT: Have you been doing anything special to get ready for college football?
LM: I've been lifting weights and basic workouts. In Texas, weightlifting and running is a big part of the program so I try to keep myself in shape.
CT: What are you benching?
LM: I'm benching 295.