Linebacker commits to Cats

It is no secret that Arizona could use some help at the linebacker spots for next year. Their answer was in town a few days ago and pledged his allegiance to Mike Stoops this weekend. The Cats hosted a grayshirt player that was set to sign with another school next month, but now is now moving to Tucson. He was one of the top Linebackers in the South coming out of high school.

James Alford told Cat Tracks that he has verbally commited the the University and will be on campus in January. Alford was a top ranked linebacker recruit from Louisiana who origianlly signed with West Virginia.

Alford told Mike Stoops of his intentions on Friday, the final day of his visit.

"Coach Stoops knocked on my door with the papers that morning," Alford said.

According to Alford, he will be able to enroll in January and participate in the Spring but he believes that he will count towards the 2004 scholarship, not 2003 like most mid-year junior colelge transfers.

"I've signed my scholarship papers, but can't sign a letter of intent until February," Alford informed Cat Tracks.

Alford was rushed in so he could see the school before the 'dead period' and the move worked. He was at Arizona's win over Saint Mary's and received a lot of one-on-one time with Mike Stoops.

He was hosted by corner back Zeonte Sherman, who is originally from Florida and the two players got along well. Sherman is an outgoing guy and showed Alford some of the nightlife.

Alford was all set to attend college at West Virginia this past fall. But shortly before fall camp he was told by the West Virginia coaches that they wanted to grayshirt him after he had been in Morgantown all summer working out and getting ready to start camp and compete for a spot.

The reason may be that James had a knee injury shortly before the start of his senior year so he missed the whole season. That did not stop the schools from coming after him though. He had official offers from Colorado, West Virgina, Clemson, Tennessee, Florida, and Miami, among others. He opted for West Virginia and went up over the summer with a re-habbed knee and won the team's "Mountaineer" Award for the hardest working player in the off-season.

After being in Morgantown for the past few months he decided it was not the place for him. Especially after thinking he was going to play, and then getting grayshirted.

In the past few weeks after letting it be known he would like to change schools he has been courted by Virginia Tech, Clemson, and Utah. He took a trip to Salt Lake last week and arrived in Tucson Wednesday. Friday morning he pledged his allegiance to the Cats.

He did originally sign a letter of intent with West Virginia but that is considered null and void if a grayshirt happens. If anything, a simple appeal will be made to the NCAA to get him out of his signature to them.

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