Catching up with Derick Barkum

Derick Barkum is not an easy guy to get a hold of. Word of his pledge to Arizona surfaced over a week ago. It took nearly 10 call attempts to finally reach him. It was worth it as the JC receiver was a good interview. Barkum wasn't just hard to get a hold of, he was not the easiest player to find during recruiting.

Barkum tripped to Arizona and wasted no time committing to the Cats. For Arizona, uncovering players over the summer is nothing new, but one has to wonder why it took the 6-2 wide-out so long to get noticed.

Frankly, it was partially his fault.

"I mailed out my tapes kind of late," he confessed. "When the Arizona coaches offered, I jumped at the chance."

After the Wildcat coaches viewed the tapes and realized Barkum could be eligible by the end of the summer, they invited him out for a visit. The speedster liked what he saw in Tucson.

"I made my trip out there and liked everything about it," Barkum said. "I liked the coaching staff, the offense. I met some of the players and liked them a lot too.

"Arizona is not a bad place to be," he continued. "I have a lot of family in Arizona. Plus it is the Pac-10, one of the best conferences there is."

Academics seem to have played a role in why some teams overlooked Barkum. He still has two summer classes to complete before he can join the program. He said the two courses are fairly easy and that he has "no worries" about qualifying.

Once eligible, the real work begins. Barkum has a real shot to play next fall, but needs to be in shape to push for playing time. The secret to getting in shape is getting on campus over the summer.

"I have to get on campus before the fall camp starts so I can get in shape and have a good showing," Barkum explained.

Once he gets on campus he likes his chances of cracking the playing rotation.

"They don't bring JC players in not too play," Barkum noted.

The chance to play in the Pac-10 was a major draw, but Barkum was also intrigued by the chance to play for new receivers coach Darrell Wyatt.

"He's a great guy and a great coach," Barkum said. "His experience with Oklahoma and the Minnesota Vikings shows that."

Barkum describes himself as a "speed guy" but wasn't real interested in talking about himself.

"I let my play do the talking," Barkum said. "I just strap on the pads and get it done on the field."

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