Longbons still mulling options

"Hurry up, or else you'll miss out." Essentially this is the message the Arizona football staff is giving prospective players. With 10 fall commitments in the bag, space in the 2005 recruiting class is getting scarce. With the commitment of Tucson running back Xavier Smith, the Cats have just one available scholarship left for a runner. One in-state player would be a perfect fit for that spot, but will he commit in time.

Centennial running back Terry Longbons is one of the best players in the state. The bruising runner from Phoenix has long favored Arizona and Arizona State. He does not have a timetable for choosing a school set up, but may need to very soon.

"No, not really," Longbons replied when asked if he knew when he was planning to make a decision. "I really don't have an idea of when I'd like to do it."

Longbons is a priority recruit of the Wildcats who would like to win the in-state recruiting battles against their rival to the North. They have been in constant communication with the runner and his high school coaches and he is well aware of the scholarship situation. With the commitment of Sunnyside's Smith, the Cats have just one other slot for a running back. While they would love to add Longbons, they have made it clear that they can't wait too long.

"It changes things a little bit," Longbons admitted. "I know that I may need to hurry up if that is where I want to go."

The 5-11, 210 pound runner would not tip his hand. He has said in the past that he'd be open to out-of-state schools, but as of now the two Arizona schools are the only he is really considering.

The Cats have a few aces up their sleeves. First off, his sister is an incoming freshman at the UA and the family is very supportive of she and Terry going to Tucson. Secondly, his friend and teammate, offensive lineman Jordan Lowe, just committed to the Wildcats. Lowe is already doing a sell job.

"We just talk about stuff, including playing together," Longbons said. "We just mess around a lot. He tries to tell me to commit early so we can play together."

Longbons is a terrific prospect. He's big, strong and fast. He can run between the tackles but has speed to do damage once he's in the open field. He rushed for over 2,000 yards as a junior, but did not rest on his laurels. In addition to going to various recruiting camps, Longbons worked out with a personal trainer who coaches pro athletes and did speed drills with former Wildcat Reggie McGill.

While Arizona would love to land him, they won't wait around. They just offered Texas runner Corey Robertson and have a handful of others who have firm offers. The Cats will take the first player to commit, the rest are out of luck.

E-mail Brad at bradallis@msn.com

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