Cali OL back in the picture for '04

One of Arizona's premier offensive line recruits of 2004 under the old coaching regime was William Wacholz of Rancho Bernardo High School in San Diego. He had been featured as a strong lean to Arizona but a formal written offer never came from Arizona or any other D-1 school. That mystery has been cleared up by Wacholz, who now sports formal written offers from Arizona and Washington. He is also expected to receive a formal offer from Michigan State when he visits the Big Ten school on June 17.

So why didn't Wacholz ever receive an offer? "I broke my leg at the beginning of the season. By the time I got back, I only got to play a couple of games and most of the schools had already focused in on the people who they felt fit their needs."

And how did it come about that the 6-61/2, 300 pounder finally started getting some offers? "I went to a junior college combine on May 8th at Citrus College in Los Angeles.

"It's a 'sophomores only' combine for JC people. A guy that was a scout for several Division One schools said he liked my size and ability and started telling a lot of people about me and there were also a lot of college teams there that saw me."

Wacholz said he was injured in a scrimmage when a 280-pound defensive lineman fell on his leg.

"I was blocking my guy when he fell on my leg. I heard something pop but I didn't know I was injured. I drove home and then went to the ER and they X-rayed me."

Wacholz was on crutches for a total of eight weeks, which obviously slowed his physical training regimen.

"I did a lot of upper body work, but couldn't do any lower body. I'm now back to a hundred percent."

The injury was a bad break for Wacholz, who had made himself over between his junior and senior seasons at Rancho Bernardo through a rigorous physical training program that should leave him well equipped to confront the rigors of the UofA's new strength and conditioning program.

Wacholz told Cat Tracks that he was being recruited at the outset of his "re-recruitment" by Coach Kasey Dunn, "but then Coach Wolford has really gotten into it because he's my position coach."

Wacholz has nothing but good things to say about Arizona's new coaching staff, saying, "they look great on paper.

"Coach Stoops at Oklahoma; that's a great program. All the coaches are real young, bright guys and they are very energetic!"

Wacholz will trip to the University of Washington on June 2nd, and return the next day. He'll then be in Tucson for a formal visit on June 11th. On June 18th, one day after high school graduation, he departs for a trip to the Midwest to check out Coach John L. Smith's MSU Spartan program.

"I'll talk it over with my dad on the flight back and we'll probably decide pretty quickly," Wacholz said. "If it's Arizona, then I'll probably come over to Tucson right away because the coaches want me to get used to everything, start working out and get to know the team."

Wacholz said he and his family have been planning on a family vacation for some time that is scheduled for July 19 to August 1. "The coaches said they have no problem with that but they want me to come out a couple weeks earlier."

The last time we talked to Wacholz before his injury he was bench pressing 375 pounds. Big Bill says he's a hundred percent now, and his current 400-pound bench press supports that assessment.

Although injured, Wacholz did manage to make it to Tucson for a couple of Arizona's games last season.

"I went to the LSU and Oregon games on crutches," Wacholz said. He was surprised at the collapse of the Wildcat season. "I couldn't believe it. I remember looking at the scoreboard after that UTEP game and thinking they could have something, but then when I went to the LSU game it was like, 'man' ."

Wacholz said he is anticipating a red-shirt season wherever he ends up, although he said teams are talking to him about being ready to play in the event of injury to front liners.

A question that many Arizona fans have is where Arizona currently stands in his personal recruiting mix after the Wildcats were far and away his leader one year ago, to which Wacholz replied, "I'd have to say Arizona is the favorite right now. It's the only school I've ever visited and I know a lot about it."

One factor that might enter into Big Bill's final decision should also play into Arizona's favor; weather.

"I prefer warm weather over cold weather," Wacholz Cat Tracks.

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