Lineman gets release from Cal, will join former coach at Arizona

Freddie Tagaloa started seven games at left tackle for California.

TUCSON, Ariz. — Arizona gained some size and experience on the offensive line for the 2015 season when Freddie Tagaloa won his appeal to get released from his scholarship with the University of California.

Cal originally balked at releasing Tagaloa from his scholarhip to transfer to another Pac-12 school, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

He’s set to enroll this spring semester but won’t be eligible until the 2015 season. Had he not been released from the scholarship, he would have had to sit out two years. He’ll have two seasons of eligibility left.

Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez has talked about needing size on both his offensive and defensive line. He got that in the 6-foot-8, 330-pound  Tagaloa, who started seven games for Cal at left tackle. He played his first season at Cal for offensive line coach Jim Michalczik, who joined Rodriguez’s staff at UA prior to the 2013 season.

 "Having a coach I looked up to as a father figure was one of the main deciding factors," Tagaloa told the Mercury News about transferring to Arizona. "I talked to (former Cal offensive linemen) Alex Mack and Mitchell Schwartz, and they call him an O-line guru."

Tagaloa is the second California transfer to Arizona in the last few months, although linebacker David Wilkerson, who joined the Wildcats as a walk-on as this past season started, is not listed on the team’s online roster.

Arizona athletic director Greg Byrne said in a text to that he is not ready to comment on reports that Rodriguez is on the short list of candidates as a replacement for Louisville coach Charlie Strong, who left to take the head job at Texas.

But Byrne did take to Twitter on Monday to express this thought:

Rodriguez makes $2.25 million a year. Strong was making $3.7 per year. It would be no shock if at some point soon Arizona officials announce Rodriguez has earned a nice bonus designed to secure his future in Tucson. That’s not to say overtures from other schools won’t happen again next year and beyond. Good coaches get courted all the time.