Cats close to adding corner

One position that makes Wildcat football fans nervous is cornerback. Gone are both of last year's starters and only two players on the roster have any D-I experience at the spot. Arizona may have found another player to plug into the equation. A JC player may be on his way, and the fact that he even has a shot at playing this fall is a testament to hard work.

Dramayne McElroy was a standout corner back at Chaffey College, but after last season it looked bleak that he would have any shot at playing Division-I football. McElroy passed just one class during the fall semester and getting his associate's degree looked like an impossibility.

He decided to transfer to San Bernardino Valley Community College where he met an academic advisor who had a lot of experience getting athletes ready for D-I. After looking at his transcripts, things looked bleak, but not impossible.

"I thought to myself, ‘aw man, I'm in trouble'," McElroy admitted.

It turns out that he needed to take 12 classes and make up some past work. All told he took 33 units in one semester. Most impressive he passed them all.

Needless to say, he learned his lesson.

"It was a big shock to me," the young corner admitted. "I did not really study like I should have."

Considering 12 units is full time and 18 units is the maximum a student can take in one semester without special permission, 33 units seems like an impossible task. McElroy accomplished the task, but sacrificed almost all of his spare time.

"It felt like all I did was study and workout," McElroy laughed.

McElroy is now in Tucson, preparing to join the Wildcats. He is taking a "just in case" class at Pima, but anticipates enrolling in the fall.

"I'm all but in," he explained. "We're just waiting for my AA degree to arrive Friday. I'm working out with the team, preparing for next season. Everything is a go."

Things look good for McElroy, but all Wildcat fans know that nothing is ever a sure thing when trying to get a junior college player into the University.

As of now, McElroy is not only preparing to join the team in August, but he's gunning for a starting spot. After spring, newcomer Kiel McDonald and redshirt freshman Wilrey Fontenot are the tentative starters. McElroy sees an opportunity to make an instant impact.

"They told me that all positions are up for grabs," McElroy explained. "I want to compete for the starting job. I think it is a position that I can get. Not to be down on anyone on campus now, but I think I can make a good run at a starting job."

McDonald is a bit undersized at a hair under 5-11, 175, but he tries to play much bigger. He describes himself as a physical player. He also has the reputation of being a burner.

So in the end, why Arizona? Simply put, they stayed with him. A number of schools pursued him, even with the daunting task of having to pass 12 classes, but as the spring progressed Arizona was one of the few schools that held a scholarship for him.

"I told myself that whoever takes a chance on me, I'm going to take a chance on them," McElroy said.

For now McElroy and the Wildcats play the waiting game. He's going to school, staying in a local hotel for the next few weeks and working out with players who he hopes are his future teammates. There is no telling how long it will take for McElroy to get cleared by admissions, if he gets cleared at all.

If McElroy does get cleared, he'll have a lot of work ahead of him if he hopes to win a starting job. The good news is that after the last few months he's no stranger to hard work.

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