Perkins discusses signing

Joseph Perkins will be in uniform for the Wildcats this fall. The free safety from El Camino College was originally supposed to sign with a team next December, but that all changed a few weeks ago.

A number of teams were courting Perkins. He was an ideal JC prospect. A good player, with good academics who had three to play two when he graduated next December.

But why wait?

Because the 6-2 safety had fully qualified out of high school, he was eligible to sign with a D-I team at any time. On Mothers' Day he did just that.

"They came out one day and said they had a spot available," Perkins said.

He talked things over with the El Camino coaches and when they were good with him leaving a year early, Perkins chose the Wildcats.

It was not the easiest decision to leave his prior team, but in the end it made the most sense.

"I was thinking about all my options," Perkins explained. "It wouldn't have hurt me to stay at El Camino, but I really wanted to get started at the D-I level. At Arizona they have a great strength and conditioning coach in Coach Edmund and I want to get ready to play."

Perkins has four years to play three seasons. Although a redshirt is an option, he doesn't anticipate needing it.

"If I have to redshirt, I will," Perkins said. "I don't see myself doing it. I think I can play right away."

Perkins had a lot of interest out of Gardena High School, but academics were an issue. He did not qualify until late in the process and by then going to El Camino appeared to the be the best option.

Last season he earned All-Conference honors and had seven interceptions. He describes himself as a "centerfield type" safety who can survey the whole field.

Although he's not afraid to mix it up, he does not describe himself as a big hitter.

"I can come up, but I'm not a big hitter," Perkins admitted. "I describe myself as a tackler, not a hitter."

What Perkins does have is terrific speed to go along with good size. El Camino College reports a 4.4 time it the 40 and Perkins has a track background. In fact he has not ruled out running track or playing baseball at Arizona.

He is the second El Camino player in the recruiting class, joining linebacker Vuna Tuihalamaka.

"They already signed the best linebacker in college football in Vuna Tuihalamaka," Perkins said, laughing just a bit. "I wanted to play more with that guy."

He said that Tuihalamaka did not hype up Arizona too much, but did tell Perkins what he could expect on his visit.

"I went later than he did when most of the students were taking finals," Perkins said. "He told me what it was like when he went, and it was exactly like he said it would be."

In the end Arizona had everything he wanted in a school.

"It is close to home and in the Pac-10," Perkins said. "On my trip everyone was really friendly and really cool."

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