2003 Recruiting: Defensive backs

There will be a lot of movement among the defensive backs. Several players are shifting positions in an effort to maximize the potential of the group. The Cats are bringing in a number of players to bolster the backfield.

Key loses: David Hinton, Jarvie Worcester
Key returners: Anthony Fulcher RS Jr.; Clay Hardt RS Sr.; Michael Jolivette RS Sr.; Gary Love RS Sr.; Tony Wingate RS Jr.; Darrell Brooks RS So.; Jason Martin So.; Lamon Means So.

The Cats have a lot of players, but a lot of questions. Michael Jolivette looks like a lock for one corner spot, but the rest of the positions are wide open. Darrell Brooks look headed to safety after a year at corner back. Ryan Patterson and Zeonte Sherman have the best shot at gaining playing time, but the three high school recruits are all great athletes.

Mike Beach
CB, 6-0, 170
John C. Fremont HS, Los Angeles, CA
Rank: 2-stars

High school quarterback who will most likely be a defensive back in college. Beach has legit 4.4 speed and has the size the Arizona coaches are looking for in a defensive back. Registered 80 tackles and threw for 20 TD's as a senior. Also rushed for eight scores. All-Coliseum League performer. He chose Arizona over Utah and Oregon State.
"They're bringing me in as a defensive back which is where I knew I would be playing," Beach said. "I didn't play much defense this past year because our coaches wanted me to focus on playing quarterback but I think I'll make the transition pretty well."
2003 Role: With his lack of experience on defense Beach will most likely redshirt in an attempt to better learn the corner back position.
Mackovic says: "We expect Michael to come here and be a defensive back for us, probably a corner. He's a terrific all-around athlete."

Marcus Hollingsworth
FS, 5-11, 195
San Diego Senior HS, San Diego, CA
Rank: 2-stars
High school option quarterback who has also played corner back and free safety. Western League Offensive Player of the Year and first-team all-Western League. All-CIF region honors as well. Will most likely be a defensive back in college. A hard hitter, he could find his niche at free safety. Had 79 tackles and four interceptions as a senior. Three time National Scholar Athlete. Another great athlete type who has excellent speed and good size. He also considered Colorado and SDSU.
2003 Role: Hollingsworth will most likely be a free safety at Arizona. There are a lot of players ahead of him on the depth chart, so a redshirt year would not be a big surprise.
Mackovic says: "He was first-team all-conference, and he also played quarterback. He played a little bit of everything, and he is an honors student."

Ryan Patterson
DB, 6-1, 200
Desert Vista HS/Pima CC, Phoenix, AZ
Rank: JCFootball.com top 101, 3-stars

Patterson is a big, speedy safety who has attracted the interest of some big schools. Patterson is from the same high school as Bobby Wade and John Rattay. He's the first player from Pima CC to play at Arizona. Had five interceptions last season, two of which he ran back for scores. First-team All-Arizona Community College Athletic Conference selection, plus WSFL first team safety. Second team NJCAA All-American. Michigan was also in the hunt.
"He's a very good athlete," said UA signee Ray Gurley who works out with Patterson. "He's a real cool guy."
2003 Role: Although Patterson was a safety at Pima, he'll get his first look at Arizona as a corner back. He has a very good shot at playing right away.
Mackovic says: "He knows us very well; he is a very good friend of Bobby Wade, and he went to school with him. He is a cornerback, and he will come in and compete for playing time."

Zeonte Sherman
S/CB, 6-0, 195
Page HS, Pinellas, Florida, Arizona Western CC
Rank: JCFootball.com top 101, 3-stars

Sherman is considered an upper-tier JC cornerback and could fight for immediate playing time. He is originally from Florida and transferred to Arizona Western after a stint at Garden City CC. Second-team All-ACCAC and All-WSFL. Was originally recruited by the Florida schools out of high school. Had 69 tackles and a pair of interceptions last season. Played more safety in 2002. Sherman enrolled in January and will compete in spring practice.
"I can't wait to play in the Pac-10," said Sherman. "Every week you play someone big. You look at the receiver at Washington (Reggie Williams) or the receivers at USC. Every week you face someone who's big time."
2003 Role: Participating in spring ball gives Sherman a great head start against the other newcomers. If Sherman can't crack the rotation he could redshirt as he has three years to play two. Will get his first look at safety although a shot at corner back is a possibility.
Mackovic says: "Zeonte Sherman can play safety or corner, and we are going to try him at both spots."

Wilrey Fontenot
CB, 5-11, 170
Humble HS, Humble, TX
Rank: 2-stars

Speedy corner from the same high school as former Wildcat running back Leo Mills. An excellent kick returner, Fontenot will come in and compete right away for kickoff and punt return duties. A shutdown corner who loves playing against the pass. Had 40 tackles and three picks as a senior, but had to adjust to the fact that many teams threw away from him. Member of the Texas 5A state championship 4X400 relay team in 2002.
"In the Pac-10 they pass a lot and as a corner back I like that," Fontenot said.
2003 role: Fontenot will have a shot at playing at corner, but he will most likely see the field as a punt and kickoff returner.
Mackovic says: "This guy is a flyer. He had three kickoff returns, one for 68 and two of them for 90 or more. He is a big-time track guy as far as running. He can play the bump-and-run man-to-man coverage. He also will be a terrific return guy for us."

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