Arizona went out and signed a few junior college players to fill gaps in the defense. One that should be expected to compete right away is Glendora (Calif.) Citrus Community College cornerback Dane Cruikshank.
The junior college player committed to the Wildcats in August and has felt great about it ever since.
”Life has been great since I committed,” Cruikshank said. “I was able to focus on football and not worry about recruiting.
”I got to watch the team throughout the season. They’re looking really good and every year they are progressing. I can’t wait to get in there and do my part.”
Cruikshank knows that his time is limited in Tucson and will try to make the most out of it.
”I only have two years so I have to make the most of that time,” he said. “I have to get in there and work my butt off so that I can contribute. Being a JC guy, I know that I don’t have as much time as the incoming freshmen, so I really have to work hard to make a name for myself.”
The coaching staff hasn’t settled on a position yet, but Cruikshank believes that he can play anywhere on the field.
”I can play at free safety or at the corner position,” Cruikshank said. “To be honest, I’m just a football player. I’m like a Tyrann Mathieu type. I can tackle and make football plays. I can play just about anywhere.”
The defensive back recently visited Tucson with his family and came away impressed with his impressions of campus.
”I was just down in Tucson a few weeks ago,” he said. “I brought my family down there and we got to hang out with the coaches and my teammates. I wanted my family to see what the Wildcat life was about. It was all new to us, but at the same time it was home.
He was able to speak with several people in and outside the football program during the visit and started feeling comfortable with Tucson.
”Everybody around the city, especially the coaching staff, made me feel at home,” he said. “They all just actually talked to me instead of at me. I just really liked Arizona and I’ve been a big fan all my life.”
On his trip, Cruikshank was hosted by an old friend, who turns out to be one of the reasons he committed to Arizona.
”Samajie Grant hosted me when I was down there,” Cruikshank said. “We go way back. We went to high school together and we get along really well. He’s like my big brother.
”He’s probably one of the big reasons that I committed. I wanted to go somewhere that I knew somebody and can guide me in the right direction. He’ll be able to teach me the ropes.”
Cruikshank wasn’t a qualifier out of high school, but continued to work hard and eventually got the offer he was waiting for.
”I want to maintain over a 3.0 GPA and work hard when I’m out there,” Cruikshank said. “I was waiting for Arizona to offer me since I was in high school. Back then, they talked to me a little bit, but there wasn’t much interest because of my grades.
”When I got to junior college schools started offering me and when that Arizona offer came, I just knew. They saw what I could do at a camp and offered me on the spot. I committed and now I’m just ready to get down there.”