On paper, the Arizona Wildcats and Josh Robbins were a natural fit.

But the pairing wasn't a given.

The Canyon del Oro High School star toured the UA over the weekend with the discerning eye of an outsider, taking a tour of the program's academic services center and weight room. He met the Wildcats' players and coaches and watched a practice.

Robbins, 17, was impressed enough to verbally commit on the spot.

"It was always in the back of my mind that I was going to go to Arizona," Robbins said Sunday. "But I wanted to wait until after my official visit to make a decision, just to make sure it was the right place for me."

Robbins' decision brings one of the first families of Arizona football back to campus.

Robbins' father, Randy, was an all-conference cornerback for the UA in 1983 who went on to a nine-year NFL career. Randy Robbins returned to the UA after retiring and spent two seasons (1998-99) as a graduate assistant and one year (2000) as the team's running backs coach.

Josh Robbins spent his formative years in Arizona's football offices; wide receiver Dennis Northcutt and cornerback Chris McAlister were his two favorite players.

The Rivals.com recruiting service lists Robbins, a 6-foot-3-inch, 185-pound safety, as a three-star recruit and the No. 12 player in the state.

Robbins weighed offers from Colorado, Northern Arizona, Oregon State, San Diego State, Utah and UNLV before choosing the Wildcats.

The family legacy, he said, had less to do with his choice than UA strength coach Corey Edmond.

"Their weight-training program was great. 'Coach Ed' looked like he'd get me right," Robbins said. "I had to assure myself that the U of A was the right fit for me, and they were."

Randy Robbins said Sunday he was "on cloud nine."

"It's a surreal moment. It's a surreal day," he said. "He grew up at that school, just like I did. When I was coaching there, he was just a little kid walking around my office."

Because of his connections to the school, Randy Robbins purposely stayed out of the recruiting process. He didn't meet UA assistant David Nichol, the coach who handled Josh's recruitment, until a few months ago.

"As an alumnus and a former player, did I want Josh to go there? You betcha. But I'm a dad first, and I had to see what was best for him," Randy Robbins said. "He made the decision on his own."

Josh Robbins will play safety in college, just like he did at CDO. Robbins was a key part of the Dorados' Class 4A-I state championship run, registering 31 tackles and intercepting six passes as a senior. Playing wide receiver, he caught 28 passes for 332 yards and six touchdowns.

Randy Robbins said his son "has tremendous upside, tremendous range and a natural-built motor to get to the football."

"He's very athletic," Randy Robbins said. "Once he gets a good weight and strength-and-conditioning program behind him, look out.

"He worked hard (at CDO), and he wants to work hard. Josh is that type of kid. He knows I'm in the Hall of Fame there; his goal is to put a plaque above mine."