Linebacker ready to become a Wildcat

When Larry Mac Duff was molding the legendary Desert Swarm defenses that gained national recognition for the Arizona program in the nineties, the Wildcats relied on rapid pursuit from hardhitting linebackers such as Sean Harris, SeanJarrett, and Brant Boyer. Arizona's Texas connection appears to be opening a new pipeline of linebacking talent to forge a new edition of Desert Swarm in the John Mackovic era and one name that will likely standout for Wildcat fans is that of Akin Akinniyi.

Akinniyi may present a name that will challenge radio and television broadcasters throughout the PAC-10 region, but college coaches from across the country found his name easy to remember as coaches from Purdue, Iowa State, ASU, Duke and USC had contacted the Carrollton (Texas) Creekview High standout during his senior season. Akinniyi is 6-1 and weighs between 200 and 205 pounds at present, but plains to increase his size and strength in Arizona's new weight training facility that he termed, "the biggest and best in the nation." 

Cat Tracks tracked down Akinniyi the night before he was set to sign his national letter of intent to attend Arizona.  We caught up with him on his cell phone while he was attending his sister's high school basketball game.

Cat Tracks:  Akin, I guess you are definitely set to sign with Arizona on Wednesday?
Akin Akinnyi:  Yes sir, I'm definitely set to sign.

C.T.  How would you describe your game?
A.A.  Speed and quickness is basically what I use; that and hand speed to ward off blockers.

C.T.  What Wildcat coach recruited you?
A.A.  Coach Rick Dykes (Offensive Coordinator/QB coach) recruited me.  It was funny, I sort of had a feeling about Arizona even in the beginning when I got the first phone call.  I just had an inkling to go to Arizona and then I went down there and it was beautiful.  The scenery was beautiful with the palm trees and everything, plus, the campus was really alive even though it was finals week.

C.T.  What's the main difference between your home town and Tucson?
A.A.  Well Carrollton is pretty close to Dallas but it's pretty dull down here because I like people and I like to be surrounded by people.

C.T.  Do you think you will play next year as a true frosh, or are you anticipating redshirting?
A.A.  I'd love to play, but with my size and the fact that I'll be playing a totally new position it
may be best for me to redshirt so I can learn the position and play it well.

C.T.  What position did you play last year?
A.A.  I played defensive end at Creekview and I'll be playing outside linebacker at Arizona.

C.T.  What do you plan to major in at Arizona?
A.A.  Something in the sports field like sports management or sports medicine.

C.T.  Are you a good student?
A.A.  I make mostly A's and B's with an occasional C.

C.T.  When do you think you'll go to Tucson?
A.A.  I'm not sure about that because I have to talk it over with my parents and with the coaches there.  If I went down there to start lifting and getting used to the community it would increase
my confidence of playing.

C.T.  What are you lifting now?
A.A.  I'm benching right now in the 300 pound range and squatting in the 500 range.  I love to lift

C.T.  What kind of season did your team have this year?
A.A.  We were 8-2.

C.T.  Are you playing any other sports?
A.A.  No, not this year.  I'm working out with the track team to improve my forty time but that's it.

C.T.  Since you committed to Arizona have you kept up with Wildcat sports?
A.A.  I watched the Arizona basketball team when we played ASU.  We have some talent on the basketball team with all those freshmen.  They are incredible.

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