Reggie Gilbert spent the last few months considering a scholarship offer from the Arizona Wildcats.
Friday, he took a final look - and came away impressed.
Gilbert, a 6-foot-3-inch, 230-pound defensive end from Laveen, verbally committed to the UA's 2011 recruiting class after taking a second unofficial campus visit.
Gilbert, 17, said he was impressed by Arizona's revamped facilities. He toured the Wildcats' locker rooms and new practice field, checked out a few dorms and saw a blueprint for Arizona Stadium's North End Zone Project.
"I saw some stuff that I didn't see before," he said. "I didn't see anything wrong with the U of A, that's for sure. … I like the way they do things up there."
The Rivals.com recruiting service lists Gilbert as a three-star recruit. He had a breakout season as a junior at Fairfax High School, registering 58 tackles and 13 sacks. He also forced two fumbles.
Gilbert chose Arizona over San Diego State, though seven other schools - Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, New Mexico State, Northern Arizona, Northern Colorado and UTEP - had offered scholarships.
"San Diego State was the first school to offer me. The U of A based the offer on my athletic ability," he said. "Other schools … well, they offered me because other schools had offered me."
Gilbert could play as a true freshman. The UA must replace starters Ricky Elmore and Brooks Reed beginning in 2011, and the Wildcats are noticeably thin at defensive end.
Oltorik on board
Ross Oltorik befriended Nick Foles when he visited the UA earlier this summer.
It wasn't until later that Oltorik realized how much he had in common with the Wildcats' starting quarterback.
Both players were high school stars whose careers sputtered at Big Ten Conference schools. Both are quarterbacks known for their leadership abilities more than their physical skills.
And both have seemingly found a good fit at Arizona.
"It was, like, 'Wow, he's in the exact same situation I was in,'" Oltorik said. "He seemed like somebody I could model myself after."
Oltorik, a 6-2, 210-pound transfer from Ohio State, began working out with the Wildcats this week. A redshirt sophomore, he must sit out this season because of transfer rules.
Oltorik will spend this fall learning the UA spread offense - an attack, he said, that's identical to the one he ran while setting records at famed Moeller High School in Cincinnati.
"It's going to be more of a mental year," he said. "I'm going to get my body right, get healthy, learn the offense and get ready to go."
Oltorik, 21, will pay his own way until a scholarship opens up in January. He chose Arizona over Cincinnati, Ohio University and Florida; all three schools wanted him for baseball, football - or both. Oltorik was a starting pitcher and backup quarterback at Ohio State.
Oltorik said he enjoyed his time with the Buckeyes, even if it was marred by two shoulder injuries.
"At Ohio State, to be honest with you, I couldn't complain," he said. "I just didn't think it was the best fit for me in the long run. I'm excited about being here."
• The UA and IMG have petitioned the Pac-10 and its television partners to broadcast their Sept. 11 home opener against The Citadel and a Sept. 25 game against Cal. Dave Sitton and John Fina will call the games on Fox Sports Arizona, assuming they're picked up.
• The Wildcats' decision to honor seven distinguished former players during halftime of their Nov. 13 game against USC came only after the UA tweaked entry requirements, adding induction to the NFF College Football Hall of Fame. The move allowed them to honor Ricky Hunley, who was inducted in 1998, and Chuck Cecil, who will be enshrined today in South Bend, Ind.
On StarNet: Follow the Wildcats as the season approaches on Ryan Finley's blog at: go.azstarnet.com/finley