Despite a 24-17 loss to Washington State, the weekend wasn’t a total loss for the UA.
Jalen Tabor, ranked as the fifth best cornerback recruit in the country by the Scout.com recruiting service and fourth best by Rivals.com, said his official visit to Arizona “definitely exceeded my expectations.”
Tabor, a product of Edison-Friendship Charter School in Washington D.C., visited the UA with his high school teammate and UA running back commit Jonathan Haden.
The two arrived Thursday night and returned home Sunday morning. Safety Will Parks and receiver Cayleb Jones hosted Tabor throughout the weekend.
“I loved it out there,” Tabor told the Star tonight. “Will and Cayleb are two tremendous guys, who are like my best friends now. I got to see all the ins-and-outs of the program and just really liked what I saw.”
Tabor said Arizona is in his top four along with Maryland, Alabama and Florida. He will officially visit Alabama on Dec. 13 and Florida later that month. One of the appealing factors to Tabor of Arizona is the chance to play right away.
“I’m looking for an opportunity to come in and contribute,” Tabor said. “I just want to help out a program and come in and work hard. I want to be there for the program from day one. I think I can come in and contribute at Arizona and be an impact player right away.”
Tabor said he will make his decision on Jan. 2 at the Under Armour All-American Game in St. Petersburg, Fla.
The cornerback said a big reason he took the trip is because of Haden, who committed to the UA in May.
“He was always on my case about taking a visit,” Tabor said. “He kept telling me I wouldn’t be disappointed if I came out and he was right. I’m really glad I listened to him and visited.”
Wide receivers coach Tony Dews has been the primary recruiter on Tabor and the cornerback said he’s struck up a good relationship with him. He’s also become close with Matt Dudek, the director of on-campus recruiting and player personnel for the UA.
“Matty D is my man,” Tabor said. “I love him. He’s like a stepfather to me. He’s definitely a great guy and one of the reasons I’m so interested in Arizona.”
Tabor said he toured the Lowell-Stevens Football Facility during his trip and met with athletic director Greg Byrne. He also met with coach Rich Rodriguez to talk about the future of the UA program.
It still seems like a long shot for Tabor to end up at Arizona, but the Wildcats are at least in the running. Maryland has long been thought to be the favorite in Tabor's recruitment.
“It’s just a whole different atmosphere then where I’m from and it couldn’t have been any better,” Tabor said. “With the weather, the coaching staff, the guys on the team, everything.”