Athlete planning to join Arizona

Arizona is still working on its roster for next season and it seems that a member of the 2011 class could be a walk-on in the future.

Arizona had a few unofficial visitors on campus for its first scrimmage of the spring last Saturday, and one of those visitors appears close to joining the team as a walk-on in the fall. Seattle O'Dea High School senior Sir Thomas Jackson was in Tucson last weekend and was impressed with what he saw from UA during the scrimmage.

"I was down there for the scrimmage, it was a good scrimmage," Jackson said. "The defense got after it, I liked their blitz defenses. It was a hard practice. I was out there Friday and Saturday and Saturday they came out with some fire."

While he was in town, Jackson was able to check out the rest of UA and was blown away with what he saw as well as the sincerity of the coaching staff.

"The campus is beautiful, it's a great community," Jackson said. "It was so nice down there. It's hot, unlike Seattle where it rains for 55 straight days. My favorite part was talking to coach (Mike) Stoops, coach (David) Nichol, and coach (Tim) Kish and having them tell me how much they like me."

The 6-foot-1, 230-pound defensive end had the opportunity to discuss his future with the program, and what position he'll be trying out for next fall. The coaches decided that he may ultimately switch positions with the Wildcats.

"I talked to the coaches, the coaching staff is nice," Jackson said. "We talked about where I'll be playing when I come out there and try out as a walk-on. We decided that I'll be playing outside linebacker.

"I think I fit in nicely because I can cover in the nickel packages or I can blitz like Jake Fischer and I can rush the quarterback on third down plays."

Jackson, who posted 87 tackles and 7.5 sacks as a senior on his way to All-State and Metro League Defensive Lineman of the Year honors, had his eye on the schemes that the Arizona defense runs and left with a favorable impression of the way it operates.

"I like the fact that they put their linebackers in different variations," Jackson said. "They do everything; they run stop, they blitz, they come off the edge. I like the way they use their linebackers."

So, after viewing the team in action, and having the opportunity to tour the campus as well, it appears Jackson has found the place where he'll continue to pursuit his dreams on the gridiron.

"I'm pretty set on Arizona, I'm not really looking anywhere else," Jackson said. "Washington State and San Diego State want me to walk on, but I like Arizona. The coaches, the players, I got to talk to the strength and conditioning coach, and they all want me to walk on and they all told me to do my thing and prove myself. That meant a lot to me."

It appears Arizona is ready to welcome him with open arms, and give him a chance to make the football team next fall. And Jackson, who should currently be a recruit for the class of 2012 because he doesn't turn 18 until September, is embracing the opportunity to become an Arizona Wildcat.

"I'm going to come in and work my butt off every day," Jackson said. "I should be down there for fall camp along with the rest of the walk-ons. Until then, I'm going to get my body in shape and be ready to go."

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