2004: Arbet, a senior with starting experience who came to USC as a walk-on in 1999 but quickly earned a scholarship, will compete for a starting cornerback spot in 2004 after receiving a sixth year of eligibility from the NCAA because he was out of action for most of the past 2 seasons with a foot injury. He missed most of 2004 spring practice while recuperating from the injury.
2003: As a senior cornerback in 2003, Arbet appeared recovered from a foot injury that sidelined him for the 2002 season and he even started USC's first 2 games. But when pain persisted in his right foot from the 2002 injury, he had surgery prior to the Hawaii game and missed the rest of the 2003 season. He petitioned the NCAA to get a sixth year of eligibility in 2004 based on his injury. In the 2 games he played in 2003, he had 5 tackles (1 for a loss of 2 yards), a deflection and a forced fumble (which USC recovered to set up a TD). He also returned 4 punts for 19 yards (4.8 avg.). Four of the tackles came at Auburn.
2002: Arbet figured to start at cornerback in 2002 (and maybe even return punts and kickoffs again as a key special teamer). But he suffered a broken right foot in 2002 fall practice and was sidelined for the season (which enabled him to redshirt).
2001: Arbet played a number of roles as a junior in
2001: he backed up Kris Richard at cornerback, he was USC's nickel back, he played on many special teams and he returned punts and kickoffs. Overall while appearing in 11 games in 2001 (he missed the Oregon State contest with a sprained right ankle suffered at Arizona), he had 25 tackles, including 3 for losses of 11 yards (with 2 sacks for 7 yards), 6 deflections, 3 interceptions which he returned for 90 yards (30.0 avg.), including a 70-yard TD runback at Arizona, 1 fumble recovery, a team-best 25 punt returns for 225 yards (9.0 avg.) and 3 kickoff returns for 53 yards (17.7 avg.). For all this, he made the 2001 All-Pac-10 first team as the special teams player (non-kicker). He had 6 tackles at Washington and 4 at Arizona. Against Stanford, he returned 5 punts for 70 yards (including a career-best 47-yarder to set up a TD) and had the fumble recovery (leading to a Trojan field goal). His 20-yard interception return versus Arizona State set up a USC field goal. His other pick came against UCLA. He won USC's Special Teams Player of the Year Award.
2000: Arbet was an often-used cornerback as a sophomore in 2000, even starting 4 games (Arizona, Oregon, Stanford and Notre Dame). He was the backup to Kris Richard the rest of the time. Overall in 2000 while appearing in all 12 games, he had 31 tackles, including 1 for a loss of 1 yard, and 2 deflections. He also returned 7 kickoffs for 136 yards (19.4 avg.). He had 5 tackles against Oregon State and Oregon, 4 versus Colorado and Notre Dame, and 3 against Penn State, Stanford and Arizona State. He broke up 2 passes against San Jose State. He returned 3 kickoffs at Oregon State for 46 yards and 2 for 61 yards against San Jose State. He was also available at free safety (he was moved to that spot during 2000 spring drills).
1999: Arbet came to USC as a first-year freshman walk-on cornerback in 1999, but was so impressive in fall camp that he was given a scholarship in August, an almost unheard-of accomplishment. He served as a key backup cornerback (even starting as an extra defensive back against Hawaii and Louisiana Tech) and played on special teams. Overall, while appearing in 10 games in 1999, he made 13 tackles, 3 deflections, 1 interception and 1 fumble recovery. He had a huge game against Louisiana Tech, returning an interception 75 yards for a TD and recovering a fumble at the USC 22-yard line as Tech was threatening (he also had 7 tackles and 2 deflections in the game); for his performance, he was named the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Week. Against Stanford, he made 2 tackles. He sprained his right ankle on the opening kickoff in the Hawaii opener (he did play in the first series, then sat out the rest of the game) and missed the San Diego State and Oregon games.
HIGH SCHOOL: He won 1998 All-Northern California, All-Region, Stockton Record All-Area MVP, Stockton Athletic Hall of Fame Foundation Defensive Back of the Year, Stockton Athletic Hall of Fame Student-Athlete Award, All-San Joaquin Athletic Association MVP and team MVP honors as a senior running back and defensive back at St. Mary's High in Stockton (Calif.). As a 1998 senior, he ran for 1,526 yards, scored 27 TDs, returned a kickoff 95 yards for a score and intercepted 6 passes (2 were returned for TDs). He once rushed for 250 on 10 carries in a game and had a 99-yard TD run in another. He had 1,200 rushing yards, 13 TDs and 5 interceptions as a 1997 junior while being named to the All-San Joaquin Athletic Assocation first team. As a sophomore in 1996, he was moved up to the varsity for the final 3 games of the season and rushed for 500 yards and 4 TDs. He also was on the basketball and track teams at St. Mary's.
PERSONAL: He is a sociology major at USC. His stepfather is Jeff Simmons, a 3-year (1980-82) letterman wide receiver at USC who led the Trojans in receiving in 1982 and whose 106 career receptions set a since-broken USC record. His cousin, Lamarr Arbet, was a defensive lineman at San Jose State and his uncle, Darren Arbet, is the head coach of the San Jose SaberCats of the Arena Football League. His sports heroes are Michael Jordan and Muhammad Ali.
KEVIN ARBET ON: Pressure: "I'm kind of used to being thrown into the fire. I was thrown into the fire as a freshman. I think I do better under pressure. It's more of a challenge to me, I guess."
Winning a scholarship during 1999 fall camp: "I came in and just played hard. I knew I had the ability and that I could do it if I was given the chance...My goal was to get a scholarship as soon as possible so that my parents wouldn't have to pay. I thought maybe it would happen at the end of the semester, because I expected to redshirt in 1999. But I'm not really surprised because I have a lot of confidence in myself. It was just a matter of time."
His stepfather, ex-USC wide receiver Jeff Simmons: "My dad taught me a lot about football. We used to go out and run patterns and he would teach me how to get off the line against a cornerback. At the time I wanted to be a receiver, but I actually learned a lot about being a cornerback because I always was covering my dad."
Being a Trojan: "The first time I entered the practice field here was my most thrilling moment in sports because it was when I officially became a Trojan...I went to the 1982 USC-Notre Dame game. It was my first USC game and I just fell in love with the whole tradition. I loved the setting and the crowd. The band was something I really enjoyed and still enjoy. I knew then that I wanted to go to USC someday."
WHAT OTHERS SAY: His stepfather, Jeff Simmons: "On his touchdown against Louisiana Tech (in 1999), I was there in the Coliseum running every step of the way with Kevin. I'm serious, every step of the way. All my accomplishments when I was playing at USC were nothing in comparison to the thrill I received seeing Kevin scoring that touchdown. You can't imagine how I felt...We heard from some schools during Kevin's senior year in high school, but he only had offers from three smaller schools. We knew he had a deep desire to attend USC ever since I took him to a game at the Coliseum when he was 9. So we sprang into action. (Then USC head coach) Paul Hackett was an assistant at USC in the 1970s and he recruited me out of Edison High in Fresno. So, I had access to him. I felt free to call. And I did. I told him they were making a mistake by not recruiting Kevin. Paul said, 'We don't have enough information on him.' We took care of that. We gave him films. We finally agreed that Kevin would come to USC as a walk-on, paying his own way. And, if he showed the coaching staff he had the stuff, he might get a scholarship. Well, during that first fall camp, the coaches told us Kevin was going to go on scholarship immediately. They told us, 'You know a lot more than we did.'"
GAME-BY-GAME WITH KEVIN ARBET