Future Wildcat enjoying All-Star experience

SAN ANTONIO - Brandon Tatum committed to Arizona before ever stepping on campus. Since that day his interest in the program has only gotten stronger. Now he's starting for the West Squad at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl and proudly flying the Wildcat banner.

So if he did not visit Tucson, why did he commit? Easy, Mike Stoops and his staff.

"It was basically the coaches," Tatum said. "I like the coaches and what they are doing with the program. Instead of going to a school that is already there and the way down, I want to go to a school that is on their way up."

Tatum is getting the starting nod at strong safety for the West, getting the nod over some higher rated players. His height and athleticism have really impressed onlookers.

"He has good coverage skills for such a tall kid," said Anthony Harris, the West's defensive backs coach. "He's playing strong safety for me in this game and I'm actually rotating him to free safety. I feel comfortable with him at both positions. He's athletic enough to play up in the box and also to play back and break on the ball at free safety."

Tatum is tall and big at around 6-3, 200 pounds. He's also ridiculously athletic. He's able to dunk a basketball two-handed from a standing jump.

So far his performance in practices has been nothing short of stellar. He may not tell you how well he is playing, but his West teammate, and future Wildcat teammate, Daniel Borg has seen quite a bit from Tatum.

"Tatum's done real well out here," Borg noted. "I've seen him in practice break up balls. He should be starting in the game. He'll do real well."

Tatum was not prepared to make the same claims, but does feel his is playing well enough.

"I think I'm doing pretty good," Tatum admitted. "I'm doing better than I thought I would.

"It's fun. It's exciting. It's tiring a little bit because we work so hard, but it's good being around so many good players."

Tatum and Borg have met before, but Tatum is glad that the big offensive lineman is here with him.

"It's kid of good having somebody on the same track, going to the same school as you," Tatum said.

Tatum will likely be a safety in college, but can play a variety of positions. He is a truly versatile player, and that could be his ticket to early playing time in Tucson.

"I played all of them," Tatum said of the defensive backfield positions. "I actually played linebacker too. Whatever they want me to play, I will. I like playing free better."

He has made an impact both on and off the field. On the field he has been praised as a quick learner and off the field he has shown that he's the kind of person that makes it easy to root for.

"He's a very respectable guy," Harris said. "He makes friends real easily. I think he'll fit in real well at Arizona."

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