Fotu is a Wildcat

Anthony Fotu signed with Arizona on Wednesday. Read on for a closer look at his recruitment and more.

Arizona made a statement on Wednesday when 6-foot-4, 285-pound Oakland Laney Community College four-star defensive lineman Anthony Fotu signed with the Wildcats.

"Anthony is a physical freak," Laney coach John Beam said. "He's 6-3, 6-4, 280 pounds and he's an athlete.

"He was on the junior national rugby team and he played against grown men in Argentina last year. His brother, Joe, was a defensive tackle here last year and he signed with Illinois, but I think Anthony will be better than his brother.

"He has a better upside at the college level. But the whole family can play football. Anthony actually has two brothers in high school bigger than he is."

Arizona quietly recruited Fotu and during the summer, he actually did not mention the Wildcats as an option.

"I have offers from Maryland, Miami, Illinois and Ole Miss," Fotu said in August. "They all came in during the spring when coaches could come by and see me and meet with my coaches.

"I've been talking a lot with California, USC, TCU, Mississippi State and a couple of other schools and I think they might be close, but I think they wanted to see how I progressed this season and then they will probably come after me harder once they see how I've improved."

USC decided to offer Fotu at the end of the summer and he started to plan where he would take his visits.

"Hopefully I'll be taking visits to Illinois, Miami, Oregon, and USC," he said. "I'm not real sure if anyone else will get a visit right now. I'll be leaving my junior college this December, so I'll be signing early."

Fotu had a successful season and and he decided to pay closer attention to his recruitment once it was over. Arizona hung around and it started to pay off at the beginning of this month.

"It's all been pretty hectic and exciting," Fotu said. "Coaches have been calling and showing me a lot of interest and talking to me about their programs, but the two or three that are sticking out are Mississippi State, Washington and Arizona."

Washington hosted Fotu on Thursday and Friday of last week and he followed up with a visit to Arizona this past weekend. While on the visits, Fotu knew exactly what he was looking for.

"The first thing is getting to know the staff and how I feel about how they will coach me and if they care about me as a person and a player," Fotu said. "I'll also be looking for the good and bad about the school. The academics, their support system for the players, the positives and negatives about the location. I mean, I would love to play in a place my family can watch me, but that isn't that big of a deal.

"The last thing, and it might be the most important, is how I bond with the players. I'm Polynesian, but I don't need a huge Poly community. It would be nice, but if the right fit is a place where I'm the only one, it's not that big of a deal.

"What I really want to find out though is how I bond with the players. I want them to give me the straight story on what it's like being there. Is there a good bond with the coaches and do they like it there?"

As it turns out, Arizona fit the criteria and Fotu became one of the highest rated players of the Wildcats' class.

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