TUCSON, Ariz. — Arizona continues to stockpile some pretty good players. And this one has come via another Pac-12 school.
Linebacker David Wilkerson is now a Wildcat after transferring in from California. He is a walk-on who will be paying his own way to be at Arizona.
At 6-foot-2, 220-pounds, Wilkerson landed at UA via a recommendation from former California coach Jeff Tedford, a good friend of Rodriguez’s.
“He said, ‘Hey, a really good linebacker who played for me is maybe interested in transferring to Arizona,'” Rodriguez said, recalling the conversation.
The former four-star recruit, who is now 22 years old, won’t be able to play until the 2014 season due to NCAA transfer rules, and it’s unclear right now if he’d have one or two years of eligibility. Injuries have plagued his career, as he missed last season with an ankle injury. He was granted a medical redshirt in 2010.
Rodriguez said, “I think he is hungry to prove himself.”
In his last year at California in 2011, he started three games and made 17 tackles, including 5.5 for loss and four sacks.
“I’m excited about it,” Rodriguez said. “I think he’s a good football player. … He had a little bit of a shoulder injury, so he has a chance to get his shoulder strong, get a year ahead academically, and then I think we’ll get a couple of good years out of him.”
Earlier this month, Rodriguez joked that his scout team is pretty good now that it includes a bevy of transfers. Other recent arrivals via transfer include quarterback Connor Brewer (Texas), receiver Cayleb Jones (Texas) and receiver/returner Davonte’ Neal (Notre Dame).
MORE HELP ON THE WAY
The Wildcats should be deeper next week when they open Pac-12 play in Seattle against Washington, as they are expecting to have junior defensive lineman Dan Pettinato back. Pettinato, a junior, has been rehabbing a knee injury that had kept him out since last spring.
“He’s full go,” Rodriguez said.
Pettinato, listed at 6-foot-4, 271 pounds, made 34 tackles last season in 11 games.
“He’s an experienced guy and a really good player,” Rodriguez said. “We were fortunate to get by without him. … Having Dan back is a big key for us.”