Dereck Boles’ path to the Arizona Wildcats’ roster was anything but conventional, and even after one week of camp, there’s still one more hurdle for him to clear to officially be on the team.
Head coach Rich Rodriguez said Arizona should know Boles’ fate on Tuesday.
“He’s been practicing, but we don’t expect any issues,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez said at Pac-12 Media Day that Boles still had a few academic things to deal with to be cleared to play at Arizona.
Evidently, though, Rodriguez is unconcerned about that preventing him from playing, and said Boles is having a “really good camp.”
“He’s really competitive,” Rodriguez said. “He’s going to really help us.”
Boles, a 6-foot-2, 296-pound defensive lineman, committed to Arizona in May, but then flipped to USF, before surprisingly flipping back to Arizona.
A redshirt junior, Boles attended Coffeyville Community College last season, where he tallied 66 tackles, including five sacks, in 11 games.
Prior to that, Boles played at Boise State and appeared in 13 games for the Broncos as a redshirt freshman in 2015, racking up 4.5 tackles for loss. There, Boles played under current Arizona defensive coordinator Marcel Yates.
Yates said he didn’t recruit Boles to Boise State, but is “very familiar” with him.
“He has a motor, he’s strong, powerful,” Yates said. “He still has a ways to go to get in shape, but he’s a guy we hope can help us out.”
Former Boise State DT and new Arizona DT Dereck Boles looks like the type of guy Arizona has been needing in the middle of the D-line pic.twitter.com/3aE7Dy2qzJ— Matt Moreno (@MattGOAZCATS) August 6, 2017
Fellow defensive lineman Larry Tharpe Jr. has been impressed by Boles, too.
“Big guy, big guy,” Tharpe said. “He definitely does his thing.”
Boles’ size could be even more invaluable for Arizona now that defensive lineman Sione Taufahema is out indefinitely after undergoing knee surgery.
Boles did not play with the first- or second-team defense in Saturday’s open practice, but that is to be expected until he familiarizes himself with the program.
The Kingston, Jamaica native is wearing No. 99 with the Wildcats.
Follow Ryan Kelapire on Twitter at @RKelapire