Hilliard talks commitment

Arizona picked up its 13th commitment of the season on Sunday. Texas linebacker A.J. Hilliard talks about his decision, the other schools involved, and more.

Just short of two weeks ago, A.J. Hilliard named Arizona his leader after a successful trip to Tucson, and said that he would be making his final decision in a couple of weeks. True to his word, the Spring (Tex.) Klein Oak High School linebacker pulled the trigger and made his commitment to the Wildcats.

"I'm feeling great to have finally made the biggest decision I'll be making in a long time," Hilliard said. "I talked to the coaches and they really seem happy to have me. I talked to my recruiting coach, I talked to my position coach, and I talked to coach (Mike) Stoops. They were really welcoming and I'm grateful I committed to Arizona."

The only thing that prevented the 6-foot-1, 205-pound linebacker from pulling the trigger a few weeks ago was TCU, as he wanted to give the Horned Frogs a chance to extend him an offer. However as he continued to wait, it only helped solidify his desire to be an Arizona Wildcat.

"As the days have gone, I've been thinking more and more, and I've been leaning towards Arizona more and more every day," Hilliard said. "It really just felt right, I woke up today and I knew Arizona was where I wanted to be, so I pulled the trigger."

Quarterbacks coach Frank Scelfo has been hard at work to get a verbal from Hilliard, and he was understandably excited to hear his efforts had paid off.

"I called him and he passed the phone to coach Kish and then he passed me on to Coach Stoops," Hilliard said. "He was really happy for me, and that he thinks I made a great decision. Basically he told me that I'm going to have a good four or five years there."

As Hilliard mentioned, he had the chance to talk to his future position coach Tim Kish, who let him know exactly what he can expect as a linebacker at Arizona.

"I talked to coach Kish a couple of days ago and I met him when I went up for my visit," Hilliard said. "I like him a lot, he's a really key component in my decision. Knowing him, I feel like I can know him a lot more. He's a really down to earth dude. We've already talked about how I'm going to play into their scheme and how I'll probably play early. I'm excited to be playing for him."

While Scelfo and Kish were on campus for Hilliard's visit two weeks ago, Sunday was the first chance the three-star prospect had to talk to his future head coach Mike Stoops, who was also pleased with his decision to commit to the program.

"I had never met or talked to coach Stoops until today," Hilliard said. "He was telling me congratulations and that he was happy I am an Arizona Wildcat. They've been trying to get me for awhile and he was the man on behind that, so it was cool."

After talking to Scelfo and Kish, Hilliard is confident that he will be able to make an impact on the program on the defensive side of the ball.

"They need a lot of quickness at linebacker, and I'll probably play outside linebacker at Sam or Will," Hilliard said. "There are zone and man coverage's that I'm already comfortable with, so it should be a smooth transition. I think I'm a good fit."

The 68th ranked outside linebacker in the country makes 13 commitments for UA in the class of 2012, but with every recruit there is a possibility of a change of heart. However for Hilliard, even if TCU were to offer, that doesn't appear likely.

"IF TCU were to offer, it would not change my decision at all," Hilliard said. "I'm shutting down my recruitment."

Wildcat Authority Top Stories