Cats add one, lose one

In a little under 12 hours the first of the Arizona letters of intent will start to come through the fax machine at the Wildcat football offices. On Tuesday night the Wildcats gained one new commit, but lost another.

The Wildcat staff has apparently gotten some good news. According to sources close to his recruitment, offensive lineman Jeremy Perry has committed to Arizona. Perry is a 6-3, 290-pounder from Kahuku High School in Hawaii.

Perry was the Honolulu Advertiser's Offensive Player of the Year and a key member of the Red Raiders' state championship team. His coach has called him the best lineman he has ever coached and that includes NFL vets Chris Naeole and Toniu Fonoti.

Perry visited Arizona two weeks ago and was recruited by Hawaii and Michigan among others. The Cats made up a lot of ground in just a few weeks and a lot of credit needs to go new coach Mike Tuiasasopo.

The news was not all good for the Wildcats, at least the Arizona Wildcats. Linebacker Aaron Darks verballed to Mike Stoops a few weeks ago, but he visited Kansas State this weekend and has decided that he'd look better in purple and silver instead of cardinal and navy.

Darks is a solid linebacking recruit, but the Cats have four other linebacker commits and the loss of Darks is not crippling to the Wildcats.

The day was full of bad news for the Wildcats. Terrence Apted, a lineman from America Samoa and arguably the best player from the region, has pledged to Utah. The 6-5, 270-pound offensive lineman chose the Utes over the Cats, Oregon and Penn State.

Arizona got in late on Apted and just couldn't make up enough ground to keep Apted from a Utah program that has a number of Polynesian. Ironically enough, it was coach Tuiasasopo's work at Utah before taking that was partly responsible for Apted's interest in Utah.

The Cats also learned that lineman Shannon Tevaga has apparently decided to stay with his initial pledge to UCLA. He had wavered and tripped to Tucson and Utah, but in the end it sounds as if he will stay with the Bruins.

The Cats appear to have just one recruit left on the table. Byron Smith is apparently still very interested in Arizona but his recent legal troubles could be a stumbling block. Smith had a role in a robbery, but the full extent of his involvement is still being investigated.

It seems as if the administration is hesitant to approve a player with legal troubles hanging over his head. A likely scenario could be that Smith could verbal but be in limbo until the investigation is over.

The Cats also lost a player from the 2003 class. Sources in El Paso have indicated that Marcus Thomas, a Parade All-American from Tolleson, Arizona has decided to go to UTEP. Thomas signed a letter of intent last February with the Wildcats, but academic problems kept him from enrolling. Thomas seemed intent on coming to Arizona when he cleared up his academics, but UTEP got involved and he will now play for Mike Price and the Miners.

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