Oakland Trio Loved Tucson

Long ago CatTracks stated that the Wildcats home game against the Oregon Ducks was going to be a big weekend for recruiting. The Wildcats hosted five big time official visitors this weekend, all of which could step in and play right away for the Wildcat program. Three of those visitors were from Oakland, California and CT caught up with the Oakland trio just before they boarded their plane back home.

The first to talk to us was Na Derris Ward, who goes by the nickname "Duke". Ward said that the trip went really well and that he enjoyed his time in Tucson.

"It went really good," said the four star tight end from McClymonds High School. "I was able to use the trip to get a lot more familiar with the coaching staff and with the players there now."

The campus layout and the organization of the campus was a big plus with Ward, who wants to major in Architecture.

"The campus was really nice and I like the way it is set up," he commented. "It is real organized and it is easy to find your way around. All of the departments are very organized and the campus is really spacious, I liked it a lot."

The highlight of the trip for Ward was just hanging out with the players and getting to know the coaches more.

"Coach (Tim) Kish is great, he is recruiting me," he said. "I also really like Coach (Josh) Heupel. Coach Hype is a really funny guy; he has a great sense of humor. I met with Coach Stoops and he is a wonderful guy. They are all down to earth and were great. Coach Hype is a lot like Coach Kish, they are all like that."

Ward's teammate, 5 star defensive tackle Derrick Hill, was next on the rotating cell phone and Hill said that he had a really good time too.

"I liked it a lot too," he said. "We were all hosted by Adrian McCovy and Willie Tuitama and they are both real cool. I know Willie already and he is the man, he had a great first game, and it was fun rooting for him and the team."

Hill went on to comment on his meetings with the coaches and what he thinks of the future of Arizona Football.

"I was able to see the whole program and you can tell that it is definitely on the rise," he said. "They have a really bright future and Coach Stoops knows what he wants to do. I talked to Coach (Mike) Tuiasosopo and he is a good guy. He is a good coach and he said what Coach Stoops said, the best players play, period."

The campus was a plus for Hill as well as he liked the overall environment in Tucson.

"It is just a beautiful campus and everything on the campus is very convenient," he said. "The facilities are great and I like the program they have in Business. I want to major in Business Administration."

The third member of the Oakland trio is A.J. Simmons, a four star tight end/defensive end from Bishop O'Dowd High School. Simmons, like Hill and Ward, had a very good time in Tucson.

"I thought that everything was real nice," he said. "I liked the campus a lot and I just really liked everything that I was able to see. The facilities were real cool."

For Simmons, the chance to play early will factor in to his decision and he said that he knows he could play early at Arizona. He also says that he likes the scheme of the offense.

"I really like how they use their tight ends in the offense," he said. "They are a big part of the offense for them. If I went there they are recruiting me mainly as a tight end so I know I could play there in my first year. The program is up and coming and the best players play."

Simmons, like Ward, really had a great time getting to know Arizona tight ends coach Josh Heupel.

"Oh man, Coach Hype is one funny dude," Simmons said laughing. "He is real cool man; he is one of the coolest guys around. He made me laugh a lot and he is a good coach and he knows how to win."

From the sounds of it Adrian McCovy and Willie Tuitama did a great job hosting the Oakland trio as Simmons also took really well to them, especially to Tuitama in his case.

"Willie is awesome man," he said. "He is a cool guy and he is a great quarterback. Did you see him play? That was his first game and he tore it up."

The meeting with head coach Mike Stoops went well for all three and Simmons said that they all had the same reaction to the big man.

"Coach Stoops is a really nice guy and is real down to earth," he said. "He loves his players and he is as straight forward as they come. He is all business and he is going to turn that program around. He is just a great competitor."

All in all it was a very successful recruiting weekend for the Cats as all of the Oakland trio have the Cats high on their list.

"I liked Arizona more than Colorado," Hill said. "I don't really have any heavy favorites at all but Arizona is definitely up there."

"I think I still favor Georgia but Arizona is the only Pac-10 school that I would want to play for," said Ward. "They gave me a lot to think about."

"They are definitely near the top of my list," said Simmons. "They are in my top three with Cal and Oregon for sure."

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