Lineman discusses his commitment

He's been one of the bigger mysteries in the 2004 recruiting class. Rumors of Joseph Longacre's interest in the Wildcats had been around since the fall, but no one could get a hold of the big offensive lineman. It turns out that the Longacre family did that on purpose so he could concentrate on football. Now that he's made his decision Joseph "JoJo" is talking. TheInsiders' Jerry Scott caught up with the big Texan.

Head coach Mike Stoops and company picked up another Texas star when OT Joseph Longacre (nicknamed JoJo) announced his verbal commitment to Arizona. In attendance at the Katy High School football banquet to hear the good news was Wildcat offensive tackles/tight ends coach Eric Wolford.

A little background...

Longacre (at his request) was kept off the recruiting services' boards so that he could concentrate on his senior season; therefore, he was "under the radar screen of the general public". However, college coaches and recruiters were very aware of his D-1 potential/ability. In fact, his first official offer was from Houston after his junior year. With the offer in hand, the Katy standout attended the Houston football camp this past summer, where he developed a very close relationship with head coach Art Briles.

The Houston offer was soon followed by offers from several other schools including Arizona. Although their offer was made prior to interim head coach Mike Hankwitz taking charge, it was readily honored by the new reign. Hankwitz had become familiar with the big lineman while on the staff at Texas A&M. Concerns about Arizona again surfaced when Mike Stoops was named as Head Coach. JoJo did not want to even consider the Pac-10 school until the new staff had a chance to re-evaluate his ability. Those concerns were short-lived, however, when one of the first calls coach Stoops made was to Longacre emphatically endorsing the offer.

Due to Katy's run to the Texas 5A championship, official visits, etc. had to be put on hold until after the holiday dead period. The time factor for official visits was further complicated when Longacre was named one of the 36 players from high schools in the Houston area to represent Team USA in the NFL Global Junior Championship games. Of all the post season individual awards and honors, that JoJo has received, being named to Team USA is one he may be the most proud of, as it honors not only athletic ability but academic performance (3.3 GPA or higher) as well. Additionally, his USA teammates elected him one of the team captains.

Having unofficially visited Houston several times and with very limited time available for trips; Joseph decided to make his one official to Arizona on January 16th. Hosted by RS-freshman TE Matt Petron, JoJo described his visit as "great." "Everything felt right," Longacre said. "The college setting, campus atmosphere, etc. were all what I was looking for."

After meeting the new coaching staff, Longacre believes they have the same team concept for winning as his High School Coach Mike Johnson at Katy.

One of the components of the concept is conditioning and is obviously the first thing that can be addressed. When asked if he had met Corey Edmonds (the new strength and conditioning coach), the Katy star replied "Yes sir, he is awesome."

After discussing the visit with his parents, both of whom accompanied him to Tucson, Longacre decided to announce his verbal to Arizona.

Notifying the other coaches of his decision prior to his public announcement was "very difficult" and none more so than the call to Houston coach Mike Spradlin. The Longacres had all developed a deep appreciation for the Houston staff, both during the summer camp and the recruitment period.

Academically he has his qualifying SAT and combined with his GPA, he should "fly" through the NCAA Clearinghouse.

JoJo's time of arrival in Tucson is currently in limbo. Items to be resolved include the start time of Arizona's summer school and a decision on his participation in another All-Star game this summer. He recently was invited to play in the Texas-Louisiana All-star game (Bayou Bowl) on June 21,2004.

However it turns out, his priority is to "get out there as soon as possible to help my team anyway I can."

Personally there are many descriptions I could use in defining JoJo; he's polite, articulate, etc. But this may be the most accurate and revealing: "Ultimate Team Player."

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