AllSportsTucson.com is beginning a Where Are They Now? feature, highlighting many of the athletes you grew to love through the years at Arizona and beyond. We hope you enjoy the new feature. Writer Katie Mabry will handle many of the stories.
Former Arizona Wildcats football player Syndric Steptoe played from 2003-2006. He was described as one of the most explosive all-purpose threats for the Wildcats. In 2007, the Cleveland Browns selected Steptoe in the 7th round of the NFL Draft. AllSportsTucson.com was recently able to catch up with Syndric to reflect on his college career and learn about his current connection to Arizona.
Q: Syndric, I think it’s great that you still have strong ties to the U of A and the entire Tucson community after a career in professional sports. What are you working on now that you want the readers to know about?
Steptoe: Currently, I’m the associate director of C.A.T.S. Life Skills here at the U of A. I work with the current and former student-athletes on career readiness, identity development, and whatever else is needed to allow the student-athlete to have smooth transitions in and out of college. I also volunteer coach for a flag football program called “Life Athletics” but locally known as Tucson Turf Elite Football for both boys and girls. We use the game of football to teach and build character through discipline, dedication, commitment, and respect for others. I’m also a board member for a new locally formed group called African-American Young Professionals (AAYP) and we’ve partnered with various other groups around the community to put on different events.
Q: Your career at Arizona was amazing. As a true freshman in 2003 you played in all 12 games, and earned All-Pac10 honorable mention honors in 2004 and 2005. Looking back, what would be the one piece of advice you would give to your younger self?
Steptoe: (Laughs) Yeah it was okay. I was also named to the All-Pac 10 first team my senior year. I would tell myself to take advantage of the resources available to you outside of the game of football. These next four years are going to by fast, you need to maximize every opportunity and take advantage of the platform football has given you.
Q: Athletes often talk about moments when they were truly “in the zone.” Did you have one of those moments during your career? If so, can you tell me about it?
Steptoe: This is something truly special when it happens and I’ve been blessed to experience this on multiple occasions. My most memorable one happened during my sophomore year when we played Washington State at home at noon (this was also one the hottest games I’ve ever played in (laughs). I made a miraculous catch for a 50-yard TD when I jumped over the taller defender to catch a jump ball pass from then QB Kris Heavner at the 10-yard line, I was able to maintain my balance and run into the end zone after catching the pass. I ended up with over 100 yards receiving and two TD’s this game. I felt like nothing could go wrong for me and it felt like I was playing with a nerf football because I was able to catch everything!
Q: What was the craziest or most interesting question you were asked during your recruitment, either college or the NFL?
Steptoe: Hmmm … Honestly, I can’t think of anything. I guess that could be a good thing (laughs).
Q: This one is just for fun. What’s that one song that every time it comes on you think, “This is my jam.” We all have one.
Steptoe: Honestly, it’s hard for me to say just one but if I had to I would say Eminem’s “I’m not Afraid.” I love this song because of what he went through before releasing his Recovery album and it exemplifies some of the things I’ve dealt with throughout my life.