Every Arizona Football All-American in history: Cornerbacks Darryll Lewis and Chris McAlister

Aside from just being unanimous All-Americans, Lewis and McAlister each won different National Player of the Year Awards in their respective final seasons.
Chris McAlister
Chris McAlister / Brian Bahr/GettyImages
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Chris McAlister

Arizona State V Arizona
Arizona State V Arizona / Tom Hauck/GettyImages

After transferring in from JuCo Mt. San Antonio College, McAlister spent three dominant seasons with the Wildcats as a cornerback and return specialist from 1996-98. In his sophomore season in 1996, he returned 20 kicks for 526 yards (26.3 avg) and a touchdown while grabbing a Pac-10-leading six interceptions — one of which he returned for a touchdown — en route to a first-team All-Pac-10 nod.

In 1997, he returned 15 kicks for 336 yards (22.4 avg) while hauling in four picks on defense. Though he didn't find the end zone in his junior season, he finished fourth in the conference in interceptions and earned a second consecutive first-team All-Pac-10 nod. Whatever the motivations were for returning for a final season, McAlister made the most of it.

In Arizona's magical 12-1 1998 season, McAlister set the tone immediately by returning the season-opening kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown against Hawai'i. He returned eight kickoffs on the season and five punts, one of which went 69 yards for a touchdown against Northeast Louisiana. To cap it off, he hauled in five interceptions and returned one for a touchdown against Washington State. He also blocked a punt in each of the final two regular season games.

McAlister was one of just seven players at the time to return a punt, a kickoff, and an interception for a touchdown in college football history and the only one to do it for Arizona to date. He earned the Mosi Tatupu Special Teams Player of the Year Award while being a Thorpe Award finalist and, of course, a first-team All-Pac-10 honoree. His 18 interceptions still stand as the third-most all-time for Arizona.

McAlister was subsequently drafted 10th overall by the Baltimore Ravens in 1999 and carved out a successful NFL career where he was earned All-Pro honors twice. The worthiness of his place as an Arizona Athletics Hall of Famer is indisputable, though, and he has built a reputation as Arizona's greatest combo special teams ace and defensive ballhawk.

Every Arizona Football All-American. AllAmerican. Linebackers Ricky Hunley and Scooby Wright III. dark

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