Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Wildcats Sign Eighteen To Football Letters of Intent
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: February 03, 2005
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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TUCSON, Ariz. ?- University of Arizona head coach Mike Stoops and his staff signed 18 players to football National Letters of Intent today, completing the coach’s second recruiting class in an effort heralded nationally and considered potentially among the best in the school’s recent history.

"Immediately after signing day in February 2004 we decided to get a head start on the 2005 recruiting class." Stoops said. "The strong effort put forth by our staff is reflected in the players who inked a 2005 National Letter of Intent today and in December. One of our first priorities when accepting the job at Arizona was to focus on in-state players.

"We believe our first priority in recruiting Arizona was met today by signing four of the top players in the state. We will continue to make recruiting the elite players in the state of Arizona a priority every year. In addition, we made a promise to the Wildcat fans that we would recruit the very best players in the country that would excel both academically and athletically at this institution, and we felt that we did that."

"When you are building a championship program you have to narrow the gap on your competition each year. The win over nationally ranked ASU to complete our first season reflects the progress this program has made in a year’s period of time. That victory provided strong credibility throughout our recruiting efforts in the month December through today. The top-twenty recruiting class we signed today is another step in building a championship program," he said.

Including the mid-year effort which brought six players into the program, Stoops and staff attracted prep or junior college players from Texas, California, Arizona, Oklahoma, Washington, Hawaii and Kansas, a total of 24 players.

Stoops said a full year of recruiting should prove to be valuable to the Arizona program.

"Our staff benefited from a year’s worth of recruiting in-state and throughout the country. We are very pleased with the way things have turned out today, but the work is not done. We have already begun to identify the best players in Arizona and nation-wide who could potentially be in our 2006 class."

At the time of this press release, Arizona’s class was rated in the top 20 nationally by two services ?- No. 11 by and No. 16 by

"Recruiting is really about having an institution that offers what kids and their parents desire for their future. That’s a quality education, a chance at playing football beyond college and a sense of family surrounding the program," Stoops said.

UA finished 3-8 overall and 2-6 in Pacific-10 Conference play in 2003, playing a schedule that was rated by the NCAA among the nation’s toughest. The Cats will commence spring drills on March 28 and will open the 2005 regular season on September 3 against Utah in Salt Lake City.

Arizona Football Signees - February 2, 2005


Player Pos Ht. Wt. Cl Exp Hometown (High School)
*Joe Barresi OL 6-5 304 Fr HS Edmond, Okla. (North)
Daniel Borg OL 6-5 286 Fr HS Tucson, Ariz. (Ironwood Ridge)
Eben Britton OL 6-6 280 Fr. HS Burbank, Calif. (John Burroughs)
Garrett Fields DL 6-4 250 Fr HS Dallas, Texas (Skyline)
Adam Grant TE 6-8 250 Fr HS Puyallup, Wash. (Puyallup)
Corey Hall DB 5-10 178 Fr HS DeSoto, Texas (DeSoto)
Adam Hawes OL 6-5 290 Jr JC Wheatland, Calif. (Wheat UnionHS/Yuba CC)
Donald Horton Jr. DE 6-0 238 Fr HS DeSoto, Texas (DeSoto)
Xavier Kelley LB 6-0 195 Fr HS Denton, Texas (Ryan)
Blake Kerley C 6-3 280 Fr HS Garland, Texas (South Garland)
Terry Longbons RB 5-11 211 Fr HS Peoria, Ariz. (Centennial)
Jordan Lowe OL 6-4 305 Fr HS Peoria, Ariz. (Centennial)
Adrian McCovey LB 6-3 215 Fr HS Lakewood, Calif. (Lakewood)
Michael Shelton DE 6-3 235 Fr HS Compton, Calif. (Dominguez)
Xavier Smith RB 6-0 205 Fr HS Tucson, Ariz. (Sunnyside)
Brandon Tatum S 6-0 185 Fr HS Fort Worth, Texas (Dunbar)
Michael Thomas WR 6-0 170 Fr HS DeSoto, Texas (DeSoto)
Willie Tuitama QB 6-2 212 Fr HS Stockton, Calif. (St. Mary’s)

(*Enrolled at mid-year after December prep graduation.

+Mid-year Junior College signees enrolled for Spring 2005:

Player Pos Ht. Wt. Yr Exp Hometown (Last School)
Michael Johnson S 6-3 195 Jr JC Pflugerville, Texas (Pflugerville/Tyler JC)
**Spencer Larsen LB 6-2 225 So 1L Gilbert, Ariz. (Gilbert HS/Arizona)
Brandyn McCall TE 6-5 256 Jr JC Kailua, Hawaii (Mid Pacific/Golden West CC)
Paul Nichols TE 6-2 235 Jr JC Uniontown, Kan. (Uniontown/Coffeyville CC)
Byron Smith DT 6-2 295 Jr JC Bryan, Texas (Bryan/Kilgore College)
B.J. Vickers WR 6-2 216 JR JC Venice, Calif. (Venice/Santa Monica CC)

(**Lettered as true freshman in 2002. Church Mission 2003-04, does not count in signing class)

(+Mid-year enrollment)

+Joe Barresi  - Offensive Line

6-5, 304, Freshman

Edmond, Okla. (North High School)

Barresi graduated in December, enrolled at UA and will get his action going early with 2005 spring ball... Mike Stoops’ first recruit out of the state where his brother and he reigned in many recruiting wars... Rivals three-star rating and No. 52 at offensive tackle, and Rivals’ No. 9 Oklahoma prospect... PrepStar All-Midlands... SuperPrep All-Midlands at No. 29 in the region... UA is likely to start his training at left guard... Max Emfinger national top 36 strongside tackles list, with 4 stars... One of eight offensive linemen on Top 50 Oklahoma list by Three-year starter for Edmond North... Father John Barresi played for Barry Switzer in 1973-74 at Oklahoma... Twin brother of Ben, who committed to OU’s Bob Stoops’ staff... three-star, No. 98 OL...

Daniel Borg - Offensive Line

6-5, 286, Freshman

Tucson, Ariz. (Ironwood Ridge High School)

Clearly a top recruiting target for Arizona was Borg, a premier player in its own backyard and one of the five state players the Cats attracted... Also one of the Cats’ early commitments to get the class of ’05 rolling in a big way... SuperPrep All-America and No. 17 offensive line prospect... PrepStar All-West... Rivals three-star rating and No. 39 tackle rating, four-star and No. 26 at position... Likely to start his training on the right side at tackle... Gatorade State Player of the Year... Arizona first-team all-state, as well as 4A all-state, all-region and all-city honors... Participated in the 2005 U.S. Army All-American Bowl in January 2005 at the Alamodome in San Antonio as one of the top 80 players in nation... Phoenix Metro Football Super All-State and its Brian Murray Award winner as the state’s best interior lineman... all-state 4A... Max Emfinger national top 35 quickside tackles list, 4.5 stars... Top 20 on Southwest Hot 100...

Eben Britton - Offensive Line

6-6, 280, Freshman

Burbank, Calif. (John Burroughs High School)

Stoops’ staff began recruiting Britton in earnest as a junior, and it paid off with his relatively early commitment... Four-star reating by and with No. 34 position rating in latter... Earned Los Angeles Times all-region San Fernando Valley honors...Received votes in the Long Beach Press-Telegram Best in the West poll ... SuperPrep All-America and No. 37 offensive line prospect... PrepStar All-West... Max Emfinger national top 35 quickside tackles list, 4 stars... Participated in the CaliFlorida All-Star game player in January ?'05 in Miami as one of the nation’s top prep stars... Cal-Hi Sports second-team All-State... A big presence who also plays basketball Burroughs High... Targeted by numerous west coast schools, he played right tackle for two years and left tackle as a senior... Foothill League co-Lineman of the Year in 2004...

Garrett Fields - Defensive Line

6-4, 250, Freshman

Dallas, Texas (Skyline High School)

Fields committed mid way through the recruiting season and is a solid addition to the Cats’ overall effort to bolster talent in the lines... Max Emfinger Recruiting national top 20 strong defensive ends list, 4.5 stars... Emfinger Texas 150 Playmaker at No. 94... Texas All-District 9-5A second-team honors... 5Atexasfootball preseason 5A ?'Super’ list... Played two years at Dallas Lincoln before moving to Skyline... Fields had eight sacks as a junior and had 55 tackles and five sacks as a senior... Rivals and two-star rating

Adam Grant - Tight End

6-8, 250, Freshman

Puyallup, Wash. (Puyallup High School)

Like all Arizona recruits, Grant had choices and UA coaches were happy to find their appeal worked to lure the multiple-position prospect to Tucson... SuperPrep All-Farwest, rated No. 12 on its Washington 23 list... PrepStar All-West... Will open his UA training at tight end, although he has a prep history on the defensive line and is considered by some to have talent as an offensive lineman due to his frame... Rivals three-star rating and a top 50 OL prospect, three-star and No. 35 at TE... Washington AP all-state honorable mention tight end in his first year at the position in 2004, and played defensive end prior to that... Seattle Time first-team preseason DL pick, and a Times first-team all-state TE after the year... 14 catches 185 yds on a run-oriented team; 39 tackles one INT and two sacks on defense... Starting center on basketball team, though thwarted by a wrist injury... PrepStar All-West honors in 2004... No. 14 prospect in the state by Rivals....

Corey Hall - Secondary

5-10, 178, Freshman

DeSoto, Texas (DeSoto High School)

Hall exemplifies the UA staff’s continued reach into the Texas prep ranks for talent... Three-star by and No. 36 safety... Four-star by and No. 36 safety prospect.. Three-star rating by Rivals and No. 49 at its cornerback ratings, with a Texas Top 100 ranking... SuperPrep All-Southwest honors at No. 62... UA is likely to start his training at safety.... Max Emfinger national top 30 free safety, 4 stars... AP 5A honorable mention All-state... Coaches 2004 All-District 7-5A safety....Arizona recruited his school with a great deal of focus and put him on its chart along with several teammates ?- fellow signees Donald Horton and Michael Thomas... Had 48 tackles and five interceptions in 2004, with two returns for scores...

Adam Hawes - Offensive Line

6-5, 290, Junior

Wheatland, Calif. (Wheatland Union/Yuba CC)

Hawes is penciled to open his career at UA on the left side at tackle... Four-star rating by Rivals and its No. 12 junior college prospect... Four-star by First-team All-America by JC Athletic Bureau/California Community College Football Coaches Association... CCCFCA All-Region I first-team honors... Top 20 Juco prospect at No. 16 overall... All-Bay Valley Conference first-team honors and league offensive MVP... JuCal Transfer all-state honors...

Donald Horton Jr. - Defensive Line

6-1, 238, Freshman

DeSoto, Texas (DeSoto High School)

Horton brings a three-star Rivals rating and its No. 19 position ranking at defensive end... three-star and No. 46... first-team all-state... Houston Chronicle state top 100... PrepStar All-Midlands honors... SuperPrep All-Southwest and its No. 52 prospect in region... Coaches 2004 All-District 7-5A as a defensive tackle... Rivals rates him the No. 19 Texas prospect... Max Emfinger Recruiting national top 30 strong end prospect with 4.5 stars... Emfinger Texas Top 150 Playmaker at No. 47... DeSoto finished 9-2 and rated No. 37 by Texas HS Football... Played in the Coca-Cola All-Star game for the East Team in January at UT...

+Michael Johnson - Secondary

6-3, 95, Junior

Pflugerville, Texas (PHS/Tyler JC)

Johnson is a mid-year enrollee who likely will open spring practice working at strong safety... First-team NJCAA All-America... First-team JC-Gridwire All-America... Had 68 tackles and six sacks... Defensive Most Valuable Player of the Year for Southwest Junior College Football Conference...Tyler was 8-4 in 2004 and played in the Pride of Texas Bowl, dropping a 15-10 decision to Hutchinson JC... Defensive Player of the Week in the SWJCFC playoffs with 14 tackles, a sack and two PBUs against Blinn... Finished with 68 tackles and six sacks in the regular season, the latter rating fourth in the league... Four-star recruit by Rivals and Top Juco prospect at No. 13 overall, No. 2 on its safeties list...

Xavier Kelley - Linebacker

6-0, 205, Freshman

Denton, Texas (Ryan High School)

PrepStar All-America honors as a defensive back... UA is expected to start his training as a weakside linebacker... Coaches 2004 All-District 5-5A honors... AP 5A first-team All-state... Houston Chronicle state Top 100 as a DB... first-team all-state ... SuperPrep All-Southwest as No. 73 prospect in region... Rivals three-star rating and No. 18 position ranking, plus No. 67 on Texas prospect list... three-star at No. 94... Max Emfinger Recruiting national top 40 weakside linebacker list with 4.5 stars... Emfinger Texas Top 150 Playmaker at No. 86... In 16 games in 03 season for the 4A state runners-up, Kelley was credited with 98 tackles and 15 quarterback sacks from his defensive end spot. He started four years for Ryan, which won a pair of 4A state titles during his career... Final No. 10 ranked team at 12-2 by Texas HS No. 26 safety

Blake Kerley - Offensive Line

6-3, 280, Freshman

Garland, Texas (South Garland High School)

SuperPrep All-Southwest on its Texas 99 list at No. 82... AP 5A second-team All-State... Coaches 2004 All-District 11-5A OL pick... Played in Coca-Cola All-Star game for East Team January ’05 at the University of Texas... Kerley is likely to open his UA training as a center... Rivals three-star rating and No. 11 nationally among center prospects... Rivals Texas 100... three-star and No. 94 center... Max Emfinger national top 15 center prospect with 4.5 stars...Emfinger Texas Top 150 Playmaker at No. 40... Reported 69 pancake blocks for South Garland in 2004... 9-2 final top 40 state team ranking by Texas HS Football...

+Spencer Larsen - Linebacker

6-2, 220, Sophomore

Gilbert, Ariz. (Gilbert High School)

Mid-year enrollee in correspondence courses, working to return by spring ball... Backl to UA after a two-year Mormon Mission to South America... Earned a letter as a true freshman linebacker at Arizona in 2002, finishing with 41 tackles including 3.5 for losses and two sacks, plus broke up three passes... Started seven games at the whip linebacker spot in UA’s then flex system...  Out of high school he was a SuperPrep All-Farwest pick, a Phoenix Metro Football honors, PrepStar All-West and Arizona Republic first-team all-state pick... All-region co-defensive MVP and all-southeast valley... Had 124 tackles as a senior, but was an under-the-radar recruit who came on in a big way his first year in college...

Terry Longbons - Running Back

5-1, 211, Freshman

Peoria, Ariz. (Centennial High School)

UA’s recruitment of Phoenix-area Longbons signaled the Cats’ strong interest in in-state recruiting... SuperPrep All-America honors as the No. 12 running back prospect and No. 2 state prospect... PrepStar All-America and All-West... Phoenix Metro Football first-team all-state 03 and 04... Rivals four-star rating and No. 15 RB, rated also the No. 2 prospect in the state... four-star and No. 17 RB... Before suffering an injury in mid season he was well on his way for breaking the state rushing record. He finished the year rushing for more than 900 yards and 17 TDs... 28 TDs as a junior, 2.053 yards rushing... Max Emfinger Recruiting Top 125 National Playmaker list, and one of nine 5-star tailbacks... Tom Lemming No. 5 fullback prospect on Top 25 list... all-state 4A... Rushed for 250 yards in 2004 season opener... Arizona Republic honorable mention 4A all-state...

Jordan Lowe - Offensive Line

6-4, 305, Freshman

Peoria, Ariz. (Centennial High School)

Arizona drew Lowe’s commitment early and decisively... SuperPrep All-Farwest as No. 10 on the Arizona 20 list... PrepStar All-West honors... Teammate of fellow signee Terry Longbons... Rivals three-star rating and No. 33 nationally at guard... Rivals No. 10 state prospect... two-star... Max Emfinger national top 30 offensive guards list, 4 stars... Arizona Republic first-team 4A all-state and first-team All-Arizona... Phoenix Metro Football Super All-State... Played tackle in high school but likely open his training at right guard at Arizona... ...

Adrian McCovey - Linebacker

6-3, 215, Freshman

Lakewood, Calif. (Lakewood High School)

The Cats hit a jackpot with the late recruitment of McCovey ... Named First-Team Best In The West by the Long Beach Press Telegram ... SuperPrep All-America as No. 27 LB prospect, and No. 28 All-Farwest...PrepStar All-West region honors... Los Angeles Times All-Star Football Team (top 22)... Los Angeles Times all-region defense, Southeast/South Coast... Rivals four-star rating and No. 7 position rating, four-star by ... Cal-Hi Sports second-team All-State all classes, first team Division I...Team-high 100 tackles for Division I semifinalists Lakewood, four sacks, a fumble recovery and a blocked field goal... 4-star, No. 29 linebacker prospect... No. 40 LB

+Brandyn McCall - Tight End

6-5, 256, Junior

Kailua, Hawaii (Mid Pacific/Golden West JC)

McCall will work to be UA’s No. 1 tight end in spring ball and brings some junior college credentials to back it up... SuperPrep Juco All-America, listed the No. 73 prospect... Rivals three-star rating... Had 23 catches in 2004, earning second-team All-Mission Conference honors, after earning first-team honors his freshman year in leading the league with 22 catches for 256 yards and two touchdowns ?'Top Juco’ prospect at No. 58 overall, No. 3 tight end prospect... Three-year basketball letterman for Mid-Pacific High School... three-star rating...

+Paul Nichols - TE/Fullback

6-2, 235, Freshman

Uniontown, Kan. (Uniontown/Coffeyville CC)

Nichols will contend for roles as a tight end, H-back and fullback in spring ball... Earned first-team All-Kansas Jayhawk Community College League honors as a tight end at Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College, and named a league ?'Outstanding Player’... SuperPrep All-America as a Juco 100 selection, listed the No. 54 prospect... three-star and Rivals two-star ratings... Top Juco prospect at No. 108 overall, No. 4 tight end... Played in Valley of the Sun Bowl in Scottsdale in December 04, helping 10-2 and No. 6-ranked Coffeyville beat Scottsdale CC, 33-14... Four of his five catches this past season went for touchdowns.

Michael Shelton - Defensive Line

6-3, 235, Freshman

Compton, Calif. (Dominguez High School)

Shelton is likely to open his training at UA as a defensive end... SuperPrep All-America and No. 48 defensive line prospect... PrepStar All-West... Had 16 sacks as a senior and seven in the playoffs... Had 13 sacks as a junior... Played in CaliFlorida All-Star game in January ?'05 in Miami... Cal-Hi Sports second-team all-state... Los Angeles Time all-region, Southeast/South Coast defense... No. 29 defensive end... four-star and No. 16 DE rating... Rivals three-star rating, with No. 14 weakside DE position rating... Recorded 115 tackles his senior year, plus forced five fumbles...

+Byron Smith - Defensive Line

6-2, 295, Junior

Bryan, Texas (Bryan HS/Kilgore College)

Rivals/ Top Juco prospect at No. 99 overall, despite not playing in 2004... Four-star rating by Attended Pima College in Tucson in the Fall of 2004, plus was on Stoops’ radar during the latter’s coaching tenure at Oklahoma... Earned first-team National Junior College Athletic Association All-America honors in 2003 at Kilgore... First-team All-Southwest Junior College Conference honors in 2003... Top 101 list as No. 32 overall prospect, and No. 5 among defensive linemen... Max Emfinger national Top 300 with a four-star rating and Top 10 juco nose tackle selection... No. 8 DL prospect and No. 51 on its overall list... Two-year starter on the Rangers defensive line, with 41 tackles and three sacks in first year, 65 tackles and seven sacks his soph year... High school teammate of UA wide receiver Syndric Steptoe in 2001, when he earned first-team All-District honors at Bryan High School...

Xavier Smith - Running Back

6-0, 205, Freshman

Tucson, Ariz. (Sunnyside High School)

Coaches were glad to get an early commitment from in-town star Smith... Four-star rating by at No. 13 RB... Rivals three-star rating and No. 23 running back prospect... SuperPrep All-Farwest and No. 4 on its Arizona 20 list... PrepStar All-West... No. 4-rated player in the state by Rivals... Also played some linebacker and was recruited by some as a safety... Carried 150 times for 1,205 yards and 16 scores as a senior... all-state 4A... Arizona Republic honorable mention 4A all-state... Max Emfinger Recruiting top 50 tailback, with 4.5 stars... Totaled 1,851 yards rushing and 23 touchdowns as junior in leading Sunnyside to the 4A state championship...

Brandon Tatum - Secondary

6-0, 85, Freshman

Fort Worth, Texas (Dunbar High School)

Tatum, who played safety and wide receiver in high school, likely will open training as a Wildcat strong safety... SuperPrep All-America as No. 40 DB prospect, and All-Southwest, listed No. 32 in the region... PrepStar All-America and All-Midlands... four-star rating and No. 14 safety rank... Fine showing in 2005 U.S. Army All-American Bowl in January at the Alamodome in San Antonio, for the top 78 players in nation... Fort Worth Star-Telegram all-region honors... Houston Chronicle state Top 100... Coaches 2004 All-District 8-4A No. 24 safety...Max Emfinger national top 20 free safety, 4.5 stars... Emfinger Texas Top 150 Playmaker at No. 48...

Michael Thomas - Receiver

6-0, 175, Freshman

DeSoto, Texas (DeSoto High School)

Arizona signed a number of All-Star game players including projected wideout Michael Thomas... Played on West Team in 2005 U.S. Army All-American Bowl in January at San Antonio, the bowl for top 78 players... Coaches 2004 All-District 7-5A as both a wide receiver on offense and return specialist on defense PrepStar All-Midlands... SuperPrep All-Southwest on its Texas 99 list at No. 83... Rushed for 333 yards on a mere 26 carries and had 15 receptions for 205 yards in a run-oriented offense... Max Emfinger Recruiting top 30 wide receiver rating, with 4.25 stars... Played on 9-2 team team his senior year, finished ranked No. 37 by Texas HS Football... Houston Chronicle Texas Top 100... three-star rating and No. 99 WR...

Willie Tuitama - Quarterback

6-2, 212, Freshman

Stockton, Calif. (St. Mary’s High School)

Arizona signed one quarterback and landed a good one in Tuitama... SuperPrep All-America, rated its No. 16 quarterback... PrepStar All-America honors... Rivals four-star rating and No. 5 at quarterback, plus listed the No. 16 recruit in the state... four-star and No. 10 QB ranking... Senior year he completed 158 of 254 passes for 2,734 yards and phenomenal 32 touchdowns, with only 7 interceptions... Led Stockton St. Mary’s to California’s Division I sectional championship, beating Nevada Union of Grass Valley, Calif., 50-45 with Tuitama completing his last 11 passes. He had no incompletions in the second half... Team finished 13-1 and Tuitama led the league in passing yards, completing 17 of 23 passes for career highs of 312 yards and five touchdowns in his final prep game... Cal-Hi Sports third-team All-State...Received votes in the Long Beach Press-Telegram Best in the West Poll ... Max Emfinger top 30 dropback QB list with 4.5 stars... No. 12 QB prospect nationally...

+B.J. Vickers - Receiver

6-2, 216, Junior

Venice, Calif. (Venice HS/Santa Monica CC)

One of the Cats key mid-year signees, adding some experience on the offensive perimeter... Rivals and four-star ratings... Earned second-team All-America honors with 700 yards receiving and 10 touchdowns as a soph at Santa Monica CC... CCCFCA First-team All-California JC Distrrict III honors... In his two-year career he had 67 catches for more than 1,500 yards, with 22 scoring receptions... Earned PrepStar and Prep Football Report All-America honors out of Venice High School in 2002... Had five interceptions as a junior safety... PrepStar All-America out of high school, plus all-state, all-league after catching 67 passes for nearly 1500 yards as a HS hunior, plus five INTs as a safety... Rivals four-star high school recruit, rated its No. 18 wide receiver nationally... Top Juco prospect at No.14 overall

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