Dec. 9, 1999
Berkeley - The honors continue to roll in for Cal senior Deltha O'Neal as the talented cornerback and return specialist today was named as a first team All-American by the American Football Coaches Association and given the Mosi Tatupu National Special Teams Player of the Year Award.
O'Neal also picked up first team All-America honors as a defensive back by CNN/SI.com and as a return specialist by The Sporting News. O'Neal was a second team All-America selection by The Sporting News. Earlier this month, the Cal stalwart was named as a first team All-America selection as a DB by the Football Writers Association.
The All-America choice by the football coaches association was announced on Thursday afternoon on the Home Depot College Football Awards Show on ESPN (2:00 p.m. PST, replayed on ESPN at 5:30 p.m. PST). O'Neal was the only Pac-10 player to be named to the 11-member first team defense. The only other Pac-10 player to make the team was wide receiver Dennis Northcutt of Arizona.
O'Neal was also named Thursday as the Mosi Tatupu National Special Teams Player of the Year. That award was given by the Hawaii Bowls Organization in conjunction with the Maui Breakfast Club.
O'Neal had a sensational senior campaign in 1999. He tied for the national lead with nine interceptions and set a new NCAA record by returning four interceptions for touchdowns in a single season. He also finished fourth in the country in kickoff returns with a 29.21 yards per return average and was 38th nationally in punt returns with a 10.2 ypr average. He returned both a punt and a kickoff for touchdowns this past season. O'Neal also set a new NCAA career record for combined kickoff and punt returns with 209 in his four-year Cal career. He tied an NCAA record for career interceptions returned for touchdowns with five, despite the fact he played on defense only two seasons.
O'Neal is the first Cal defensive back to earn first team All-America honors since Carl Van Heuitt achieved that honor in 1950.