Rich Rodriguez and the Arizona Wildcats have received their first National Letter of Intent for the 2017 recruiting class in two-star junior college defensive tackle Sione Taufahema out of College of the Canyons (Santa Clarita, CA). Taufahema checks in at 6-foot-3, 310 pounds.
After receiving an offer on Nov. 28, Taufahema had to act fast on his recruitment. He held offers to Hawaii, UMass, and Montana State among others. He also felt like Arizona State and Nevada were both close to offering, and visited New Mexico prior to his commitment to Arizona.
Taufahema provides the size on the defensive line that Arizona has been needing. He will have three years to play two, but will likely be an immediate contributor for the UA.
“It feels great,” he said about his first Pac-12 offer. “I felt like it was coming soon but I was still very surprised. Coach (Vince) Amey let me know from the jump that he thinks that I can be a guy to come in and play right away and anchor down the d-line.”
The staff has had some rough recruiting errors over the last few years, deteriorating the defensive line depth, which forced walk-ons to be called upon. Calvin Allen was never a factor, Marcus Griffin has been rotated all across the line, and Sharif Williams was forced to medically retire.
When looking to junior college options, the Wildcats couldn’t find stability there either. Anthony Fotu was removed from the team after breaking team rules, Timmy Hamilton opted to transfer just one week into fall camp, and Josh Allen failed to academically qualify.
Taufahema was the second-leading tackler among defensive linemen at Canyons, registering 24 tackles (2.5 for loss) and a sack. College of the Canyons finished the season with a record of 5-6.