FORT HUACHUCA - Shaquille Richardson grew up in Long Beach, Calif., a 20-minute drive (without traffic) down the 405 freeway from UCLA's campus.

He verbally committed to the Bruins out of Los Alamitos High School, and was set to attend this fall when, Richardson said, he made the biggest mistake of his life.

Richardson and his two cousins, both UCLA recruits, were arrested by campus police June 23 on suspicion of stealing a woman's purse. Coach Rick Neuheisel kicked all three players off the team.

Richardson, 18, has a second chance with the Arizona Wildcats.

The 6-foot-1-inch, 180-pound Richardson joined the team two weeks ago, just in time for the start of training camp, and is quickly making a name for himself. Coach Mike Stoops said Richardson is "as good a corner as I've coached at this young stage."

The Star talked to Richardson about his road to Tucson - and role in 2010:

What are your first impressions of the UA and your new team?

"I actually like Tucson a lot. I knew the team was great before I got here. But now I like all the players on the team. Practice has been really busy. I've been trying to get all the reps I can, so I can get in the rotation."

You've been playing a lot of nickel back in practice. Has that been an adjustment?

"When you play nickel, there's a lot going on. You have to keep a level head, and keep composed. I've still got a lot of work to do. Adam Hall is at nickel, too, and Marquis (Flowers). Marquis is injured, which is really the only reason I'm playing."

Your arrest received a lot of attention in Los Angeles. Was that overwhelming? How did you respond to the backlash?

"I didn't pay attention to all the media and what they had to say. I know myself, my family knows me and my friends know me. I stayed to myself. I know I have to learn from my mistakes and move forward. … I try to make a point and learn from all my mistakes, and not make them twice. I will definitely not make that one twice. It was humbling."