The Arizona Wildcats have been lacking size and talent on the defensive line — largely due to recruiting errors — resulting in walk-ons having to fill in and pick up the slack. The staff was forced to go the junior college route, landing two-star defensive tackle Sione Taufahema out of College of the Canyons (Santa Clarita, CA).
A mid-year enrollee, the 6-foot-3, 310-pound defensive tackle is enrolled and already on campus taking classes. He will participate in spring activities this semester, preparing for the 2017 season.
His recruitment process was pretty quick, picking up an offer from the staff on November 28. After talking to him about his offer, it was clear that a commitment was imminent. He took an official visit on December 9 and committed on December 11.
Among the junior college ranks, he is No. 30 in his position group and 229 overall. Taufahema finished the season with 24 tackles (2.5 for loss) and a sack.
Given his size, he’ll likely play at the nose, competing with walk-on Parker Zellers and redshirt sophomore Finton Connolly. At defensive end, walk-on Justin Belknap will likely assume the starting role once again, with Jack Banda behind him. At tackle, Luca Bruno and walk-on Larry Tharpe Jr. will be competing for the starting job.