Elite Juniors Visit Tucson, 'Big Men'

Now that the 2006 class is coming to a close and signing day is nearing the Wildcat coaching staff decided to hold their first of what could be many Junior Days to jump start the 2007 class. The Wildcat staff invited six of the state of Arizona's top seniors to be to visit this past weekend and all six showed up.

Three of the biggest, literally and figuratively, to show up on Saturday were Salpointe Catholic offensive lineman Kris O'Dowd, Phoenix Agua Fria High School stud Everson Griffen and Brophy Prep offensive lineman Blake Behrens.

O'Dowd, who joins Griffen as one of two in state prospects with an official offer from the Cats, came away impressed with his experience on campus.

"It went pretty well I thought," said O'Dowd. "They showed me a lot of things that I didn't know before. They showed me how they train their players for the next level and their strength program more. It was great to see how they work together."

Another thing that stood out to O'Dowd was the time that he spent with his would-be position coach, Cats line Coach Eric Wolford.

"Coach Wolford and I got to talk more and more and I like him," Kris said. "We discussed the future and what he thinks I can accomplish at the University of Arizona. We also sat down and watched some film. It was a good experience."

On the recruiting front O'Dowd says that he has four written offers so far from Arizona, Arizona State, Ohio State and Michigan State. Although he has yet to truly narrow down his list he did give eight schools that are kind of a cut above in his mind at this very early stage.

"I would say that Ohio State, USC, Texas, Iowa, Arizona, Michigan, Florida State and Notre Dame kind of stand out," he said. "I don't really have anything against any school but those are just the ones that I would have the most interest in right now."

Before the brief Junior Day visit O'Dowd said that Arizona may not have cracked his initial list, but afterwards they did.

"They showed me a lot of things I liked for sure," he said. "It bumped their stock up a lot most definitely."

Agua Fria ‘Freak' athlete/defensive end Everson Griffen made the trek down Interstate 10 to the Old Pueblo and had fun yet again.

"I like going down to Tucson a lot," ‘Big E' said. "I have been down there quite a few times so this wasn't anything really new but I had a lot of fun again. Seeing and meeting the other in state recruits and spending more time with the coaches was great."

Griffen attended the Cats camp last summer and earned the nickname, ‘The Freak', by those in attendance. His display of raw athleticism was impressive and it is that freakish ability that is drawing interest from many national schools.

"I get a lot of letters from different schools around the country," said Griffen. "I get letters from Florida State, Arizona, Arizona State, Mississippi, Georgia Tech and a bunch of others. I have the one offer from Arizona so far but I think I will get more offers later."

Griffen went on to admit that one school stands out above the rest even though it is so early in the process.

"I like Arizona the most by far," he said. "I want to make my decision about half way through my senior season after I take a couple of visits. I want to go through the process but I don't want to just wait around and make a late decision. I want to get it over with half way through."

Another large presence on campus was Brophy offensive lineman Blake Behrens. The 6-foot-4 inch, 270 pounder also came away impressed with his visit to Tucson.

"It was great, it was really nice to see the school," Behrens said. "I have gone down there a few times before to see my brother (current UA sophomore) but this was different. I saw the school and the facilities and got to talk with some academic people."

Another aspect of this trip that was different was his interaction with Arizona line coach Eric Wolford.

"I like Coach Wolford a lot," he said. "The program that they run is very similar to ours here at Brophy so I like that."

Growing up in state Behrens remained neutral as far as rooting interest between Arizona and Arizona State. But he did admit that lately he has been slightly tilting towards the Cardinal and Navy.

"I have been going down there a couple times a semester to see my brother who is a sophomore at the U of A," he said. "Probably because of that I would kind of favor them a little bit but I am interested in any school that is interested in me."

CatTracks.net will have another story on the other three visitors that were in town for the initial in state Junior Day. The three ‘skill' players that were in town were Michael Williams, a running back/athlete from Paradise Valley High School and teammates from Buena High School in wide receiver/athlete Devin Veal and cornerback Kevin Stewart.

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