Tatum proving he's more than a freak athlete

Better find a nickname for Brandon Tatum, he's going to need it. The true freshman wowed people with his weight room performances and that is not easy to do at a major university. With other players earning names like "Freak" and "Mutant", someone needs to grab a thesaurus for Tatum.

In a business where they see elite level athletes every day, it is tough to impress college football coaches. Brandon Tatum did just that. People knew that he could jump, after all on his recruiting visit he impressed on-lookers by touching the bottom part of a sign prohibiting large trucks from driving under an overhang. That sign was close to 13' high.

When the strength coaches tested him before the first practice, the device used to measure vertical jump was not set high enough. It was over 40'' high. He's not just a high jumper. That same testing session saw him register a standing broad jump of over 11-feet. How about strength? All he did was put up 18 repetitions of 225 pounds.

Sounds like he is a weight room warrior. Well, the Texan makes it sound like he is struggling in the Wildcats' rigorous work out program, even though it is apparent that he is excelling.

"It is just continuous lifting," Tatum said of the program. "In high school you'd lift, then take a break, lift, then take a break. Now it is lifting back to back, targeting different spots on the body that we haven't done in high school. It's advanced.

"Overall it's fun."

Although he knew he was a leaper, he was a bit surprised when he registered a 42" vertical leap. He admitted that he felt like he could get near 40", but never dreamed he'd be the best on the team.

I've been able to jump since day one," Tatum said. "It was a career high, I'd say."

As for the lifting, Tatum again set his goals too low.

"I was looking to get 15 (repetitions) and I got 18," Tatum explained. "That was really exciting."

Oh yeah, he can play football too. He was recruited as a safety, but showed so much speed and athleticism that he has also seen time at corner back in fall camp and could very well play both this season.

The only thing keeping him from being a surefire member of the defensive back rotation is his knowledge of the defensive system. If he can master that, watch out.

"It's pretty tough, especially because we didn't do much in high school," Tatum noted. "Basically we had two coverages and didn't do a whole lot of blitzing."

It's obvious that he has adjusted to life in the weight room and he is getting acclimated on the field. Just how is Tatum doing getting adjusted to life in Tucson?

"It's real cool," Tatum said. "It's kind of a different atmosphere between Arizona and Texas. We have a lot of Texas players, we listen to a lot of the same music and share some of the same thoughts and ideas. It's cool hanging around with a lot of people from home.

"I don't miss Texas now, I'm having a good time here. The weather is way better."

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