Cats land Texas All-American

When Mike Stoops was hired as the head coach of the Arizona Wildcats, he came in with the reputation of being a defensive guru thanks to the defenses he produced at Kansas State and Oklahoma. Adding to that positive reputation Mike went out and hired his brother Mark away from Miami where he coached defensive backs. At Miami he helped win a national title with the Hurricanes while producing award winners, All-Americans and NFL prospects galore.

With credentials like that of the brothers Stoops it is no wonder why defensive backs from around the country want to play for either one of them. Having them on the same staff is an amazing added bonus that is not being overlooked.

Fort Worth (Texas) Dunbar free safety Brandon Tatum noticed the opportunity that playing for Mike and Mark presents. Like many others this year, Tatum called the Arizona coaches and committed to the Wildcats without even seeing the Tucson campus.

"Things have going great for me," said Tatum, who will participate in the Army All-American game. "Thing have been going great in one direction, they have been going towards Arizona. I called and committed to coach (Joe) Robinson because he recruits my area I guess. He is a real good guy and he was real excited when I told him. He told me that I was a player that they really wanted. He was real open and honest during the recruiting process and he is a real up front kind of guy."

In addition to committing to Robinson, it is customary for a recruit to commit directly to the head coach as well, and Tatum says that doing that made his day.

"I got to talk to coach Stoops also," he said. "When I told him he was real excited and he said that I made his day which is real cool. I told him that he made my day because he has."

Tatum went into why he committed to Arizona before even seeing the campus and it all revolves around the new direction of the program and his belief in the coaching staff.

"I just really believe in what they are doing down there," commented the four-star Tatum. "Mark Stoops is one of the best defensive and defensive backs coaches in the country and I know he will help make me into a great football player. The coaching staff is going to turn things around down there 180 degrees. You can feel it when you talk to them; I just know they are going to turn it around. I want to be a part of that."

Even though he had his primary reasons for committing, Tatum says there were other factors also.

"I want to go where I am wanted and where I am liked," he said. "They make me feel that I am really needed, wanted and they talk to you with respect and they treat you right just on the phone. I am looking forward to my trip down there. I set it up for December 10th and everyone that I have talked to says it is a great place. People ask me ‘why Arizona, they are losing right now?' and I say that I truly believe in what they are doing and that I know that they will turn it around quickly 180 degrees. I can't wait to get out and see Tucson; I know I will like it out there."

Tatum is undecided on a major and has a 3.0 GPA and scored an 840 on his SAT. Tatum was selected to participate in the Army All-American game that will be played in San Antonio, Texas.

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