JUCO Safety Hosts Cat Coaches

One thing that Arizona fans knew about Mike and Mark Stoops was their ability to coach defensive backs. In two years at Arizona they have so far helped mold departing seniors Darrell Brooks and Lamon Means into likely NFL draft picks at safety and they also had a lot to say in the development so far of Antoine Cason and Wilrey Fontenot, both of whom have started every game of their Wildcat careers.

Since Means and Brooks have finished their eligibility as Wildcats the coaches have turned their sights to the JUCO ranks to replace one or both of the outgoing seniors. One such prospect, Compton College's Ashlee Palmer, had two visitors in his home today.

"Yeah, Coach (Mike) Tuiasosopo and Coach (Mark) Stoops came by my house today," said the Compton standout. "I like them both, they are really good guys. Coach Stoops man, he is a real fired up guy. And Coach Tui, he is tenacious and I like that in a coach."

Today is the first day the Arizona coaches could get out and visit the homes of prospects and Palmer was the first one to get a visit from the Cat coaching duo.

"I think it says a lot that they made a point to come and see me first," he said. "They got off the plane and came straight to my house and they were here for about an hour and it went well. They told me how they graduate two of their safeties and they told me how I could come in right away and play if I work hard. I have a good nose for the football."

During the visit the coaches firmed up an official visit date for Palmer to come to Tucson and check out the Arizona campus.

"Yeah, I should be going down there on the 9th of December," he said. "I have already been to Ole Miss and I am going to Washington on the 2nd and then Arizona on the 9th and then I will set up a visit to Nebraska too. Those are the four schools that I will most likely choose from."

Palmer originally signed with San Jose State out of Lynwood High School but failed to qualify academically. After enrolling at Compton College Palmer had an injury set back that may turn out to be a blessing in disguise.

"I tore my meniscus and my MCL," he said. "I had surgery and I red shirted last year so I will have three years to play at the next level."

Palmer has long known his lead recruiter for Arizona, Mike Tuiasosopo. Coach Tui recruited Ashlee when the Arizona coach was at the University of Utah.

"I have known coach Tui since he recruited me my senior year in high school," said Palmer. "He has always been really good to me and shot me straight. I have kept in touch with him and he is just a real good guy to know."

This season at Compton, Palmer set the College's single season interception mark, picking off seven passes on the year. Palmer was also named 1st Team All Conference and his Conference's Defensive Player of the Year, and honor that Palmer likes.

"It is nice to earn something like that," he said. "I love playing and I feel that I had a very good year. Setting the school record for interceptions was real cool too. I think that is my best attribute too, I have a nose for the football."

Palmer said that at this point none of the schools stand out above the others and that he is wide open as far as his school of choice.

Cat Tracks will keep you up to date on this SoCal JUCO stud as his recruitment continues.

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