QB Kovalcheck Closer To Arizona

Talking to San Diego St. Augustine quarterback Richard Kovalcheck, you get the distinct impression he'd already be an Arizona Wildcat commitment, if not for his positive relationship with Coach Phil Fulmer and offensive coordinator Randy Sanders.

When informed today that Mobile, Ala., QB LaMarcus Russell — rated the nation's No. 3 signal caller by The Insiders — doesn't plan an official visit to Knoxville, and has essentially narrowed his list of finalists to Florida, Florida State and LSU, Kovalcheck didn't budge from his lean to Arizona.

"I didn't know about that," said the nation's No. 13 rated quarterback. "I was never really concerned about him going there anyway. I never really looked at that much in making a decision."

Kovalcheck says Arizona is his favorite and his fondness for Fulmer and Sanders is the primary reason he hasn't announced a decision. In fact, he hasn't even told UT coaches that he is leaning to Arizona.

"I haven't committed yet," he said. "But I've been kind of leaning toward that a little bit. I really like Tennessee's coaches and I haven't told them I'm leaning toward Arizona. The last time I talked to them was a few days ago and I was still neutral then."

Kovalcheck said he was supposed to receive an in-home visit from Fulmer after January's dead period, but indicates he's probably not willing to wait that long before making a commitment.

"Coach Fulmer is supposed to have a in-home visit after the dead period." he explained. "I don't remember the date it was scheduled. My (high school) coaches think I should go ahead and commit before then. They want me to go ahead and announce it, but I'm not ready yet."

Knoxville's distance from Kovalcheck's west coast home appears to be Arizona's inherent advantage and Tennessee's insurmountable obstacle. He said his parents have remained neutral in the matter and that he plans on informing UT coaches of his status the next time they call.

"Tennessee is calling me once a week," he said. "Probably after the bowl game, I will announce something."

The closer Kovalcheck gets to announcing his decision, the further Tennessee gets from finding its quarterback of the future.

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