Freddie Tagaloa underwent a coaching change at California and never fit in well with Sonny Dykes, As he looked to transfer, Arizona kept coming up and he wound up in Tucson as a potentially major piece of the future.
"It’s been like a roller coaster," Tagaloa said. "I feel like I went through high school twice. In high school you take your recruiting trips and get the pick of the litter.
"Coming out of high school I never thought I would have another chance, but it was kind of fun going through the process twice."
Tagaloa was able to win his appeal to transfer within the Pac-12 and only sit out one year instead of two, which was a major reason why he wound up in Tucson.
"I tried to stay in the Pac-12," he said. "It is close to home, but when I went to win my appeal the biggest thing that helped me was that Cal wasn't playing Arizona the year I was eligible, so that was a sign for me that this was the right fit.
"Winning something that most people talk about not winning and only having to sit one year instead of two is a blessing."
Unfortunately, Tagaloa still has to sit out a year. However, he has taken the opportunity to get better.
"I take it as a learning year," he said. "Coach Michalczik was my offensive line coach as a freshman and he left, so I kind of got away from the fundamentals and basics that he taught. This year my body is dialing in again and am retraining my body how to move like he wants me to.
"Coach M was one of the main factors going into college. He has a good background and puts guys in the league. The guys that play for him call him the O-line guru and I had a real close relationship with him, so when he left and I was able for rejoin him it was kind of a blessing."
On the field, Tagaloa's adjustment has been adjusting to the different way that Arizona coaches its offensive line as opposed to Cal.
"At Cal with Sonny Dykes they teach re-establishing the line of scrimmage, so we back pedal," Tagaloa said. "Here, even though we go back, we kick step vertical and kick step out. I am 6-foot-8 and 315, 330, so I just couldn't get my body to move that way. This is more comfortable to me."
Not only is Tagaloa working on becoming better individually, but he has taken on the role of being a leader for the younger players.
"A lot of these guys are freshmen who have never been in a game," Tagaloa said. "I played as a freshman and sophomore at Cal, so I kind of have that game experience. I know how safeties shift and where the pressure is coming, so I coach guys on the go what to watch for."
As happy as Tagaloa is to be in Tucson, it is still hard at times to see his teammates take the field without him.
"I didn't think it would be too hard, but when the first game came, walking out and not suiting up kind of hurt me," he said. "We went out there and I got those goosebumps and I got in game mode, but then I have to check back into reality and realize you’re not playing. It’s bittersweet because you get to see your boys playing, but at the same time you want to be out there with them."