Sunday afternoon, Arizona's defense got a much needed lift when linebacker Michael Barton, a transfer from California, pledged to join the Wildcats.
Barton took a visit to Tucson over the weekend and came away committed to Arizona.
One of the main selling points was being able to further his education.
"The academics and seeing how the coaching staff was like a family out there was what really did it," Barton said. "On top of that, being able to graduate and start a grad school program at one of the most reputable schools and stay in the Pac-12 really went into it as well."
In addition, sitting down with the coaching staff played a pivotal part in his decision to head to the desert.
"I think that speaking with Coach Yates was what stood out the most," Barton said. "Talking to him about where I'm trying to go and how he will get me there.
"On top of that, the family atmosphere that Coach Rodriguez has with the players and the coaching staff just really put everything over the top."
Some of the details are still being ironed out, but Barton should come in and make an impact immediately in the linebacker corps.
"I'm not sure exactly how everything fits in yet with the defense, but I will probably be playing either the Mike or Will positions," he said. "Sitting down with (Yates) and talking about the opportunity and the need for linebackers also drove my decision to go there."
Early in the transfer process, the linebacker had some interest in the Wildcats thanks to a familiar face.
"I know one of the coaches down there from Cal, Coach Michalczik," Barton said. "That helped and I talked to my high school coaches about which schools really needed linebackers and when Arizona came up and I had a connection there, I knew that I had to do some research."
Even though the linebacker spent four years in Berkeley, he is ready to move on to his new opportunity.
"It was kind of a lot," he said about his decision to transfer from Cal. "I appreciate everything Cal did for me. I was there for four years and got my undergrad. I just needed to move on and I'm excited to be at Arizona."
Not many players transfer within the same conference, but Barton believes that the Pac-12 may be the best in the country.
"It will definitely help me," Barton said of staying in the same conference. "At the same time, I am excited to be staying in the most competitive conference in the country. Being able to do it under a new coaching staff in a new place at Arizona is going to be awesome as well."
Barton will graduate from California in May and plans to be in Tucson for the summer as he prepares for the upcoming season.
"It's going to be a definite urgency this summer," he said. "I'll be keeping track of everything that gets installed this spring and then in the summer it's going to have to be 110 miles per hour because I have a lot of catching up to do."