Dec. 13, 1999
Berkeley - Deltha O'Neal completed a clean sweep of the top three All-America teams as he was named today as a first team All-America defensive back by Associated Press.
Earlier this month, he was named a first team DB by both the Football Coaches Association and the Football Writers Association. He was a first team selection by The Sporting News as a return specialist, as well. Last week, he was named the Mosi Tatupu National Special Teams Player of the Year.
He becomes the first Cal player to earn first team Associated Press All-America honors since Sean Dawkins was named to the 1992 team. He is the first Cal defensive back to earn first team All-America honors since Carl Van Heuit in 1948, a span of some 51 years.
"This is a tremendous honor, something I didn't even imagine at the start of the season," said O'Neal. "I give a lot of the credit to Coach Setencich and the rest of the defensive staff, who spent a lot of time with me in making the transition from offense. All the hard work has paid off."
O'Neal enjoyed a spectacular season, setting a new NCAA record by returning four interceptions for touchdowns in 1999. He tied for the national lead with nine interceptions while he was ranked No. 4 nationally in kickoff returns and No. 38 in the NCAA in punt returns. His combined career total of 209 total returns (99 kickoff returns and 110 punt returns) is a new NCAA career record.