Wildcats snare five-star cornerback away from Alabama

2014-01-03T00:00:00Z Wildcats snare five-star cornerback away from AlabamaBy Daniel Berk Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Superman is landing in Tucson — and he’s bringing a bodyguard.

Five-star cornerback Jalen Tabor, the man with a giant Superman logo on his chest, verbally committed to Arizona on Thursday afternoon during the Under Armour All-American Game on ESPN.

Tabor, 6 feet 1 inch and 186 pounds, chose the UA over — get this — Alabama.

“When I went on my visit, there was just a lot of family atmosphere type stuff,” Tabor said on ESPN after making his decision. “They play for each other down there and I feel like I can go in and provide a spark right away.”

Tabor, out of Edison-Friendship High School in Washington D.C., is rated as the 15th best prospect in the country by ESPN.com, No. 24 by Rivals.com and No. 38 by Scout.

About an hour after Tabor committed, the Wildcats added another piece to the puzzle, this one, literally, a slightly larger one.

Jordan Poland, a 6-foot-8-inch, 335-pound offensive tackle from La Jolla, Calif., decommitted from USC and gave a verbal pledge to Arizona.

He’s rated as the 143rd-best prospect in the country by Rivals and a four-star recruit.

“When I walked in the front door, I got this feeling (that) this is a place where an athlete can be cared about,” Poland said. “I love Arizona and the academic situation there.”

So in one day, UA coach Rich Rodriguez and his staff beat out the defending national champions for one recruit and saw another flip from powerhouse USC to Arizona.

A good day, indeed.

Tabor is the highest rated Rivals player ever to commit to the UA since the recruiting service started putting together a top 250. He’s the highest rated Scout player to pledge to the Wildcats since Robert Golden, ranked No. 37, signed with Arizona in 2008.

Since landing Golden, the Wildcats haven’t had a player ranked in Scout’s top 200 commit to play in Tucson.

Tabor officially visited Arizona in November for the Washington State game with high school teammate and UA running back commit Jonathan Haden. Tabor, who was hosted on his visit by safety Will Parks and receiver Cayleb Jones, said then the Wildcats were a major player in his recruitment.

“I loved it out there,” Tabor told the Star after his visit. “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, like Haden, is expected to enroll at the UA later this month and be with the team for spring drills.

“He brings a tremendous skillset on the perimeter in a game where you have to height and length,” ESPN national recruiting director Tom Luginbill said during the Under Armour game. “Those two things are the most coveted traits right now in corners because of the size of the receivers.

“His athleticism is going to be awesome there.”

The cornerback is the highest rated of the UA’s 29 commitments in the 2014 class and currently the only Rivals five-star recruit committed to a Pac-12 team.

The UA now has Tabor to go with six four-star recruits: Poland, wide receiver Cameron Denson, running back Nick Wilson, linebackers Marquis Ware and Jamardre Cobb and cornerback Naijiel Hale.

Last year’s recruiting class had just three four-star recruits total.

Poland, who said his primary recruiter was co-offensive coordinator Rod Smith, will wait until the summer to move to Tucson and will be with the Wildcats for fall camp.

He’s the third offensive tackle prospect to commit to the UA for 2014, joining Layth Friekh and Levi Walton.

Contact reporter Daniel Berk at dberk@azstarnet.com or 573-4330. On Twitter @DSBerk

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Pac-12 South football standings

  Conference Overall
Team W L T PCT W L T PCT
Arizona 7 2 0 0.778 10 3 0 0.769
USC 6 3 0 0.667 8 4 0 0.667
UCLA 6 3 0 0.667 9 3 0 0.750
Arizona State 6 3 0 0.667 9 3 0 0.750
Utah 5 4 0 0.556 9 4 0 0.692
Colorado 0 9 0 0.000 2 10 0 0.167

Pac-12 North football standings

  Conference Overall
Team W L T PCT W L T PCT
Oregon 8 1 0 0.889 12 1 0 0.923
Stanford 5 4 0 0.556 7 5 0 0.583
Washington 4 5 0 0.444 8 5 0 0.615
Cal 3 6 0 0.333 5 7 0 0.417
Washington State 2 7 0 0.222 3 9 0 0.250
Oregon State 2 7 0 0.222 5 7 0 0.417
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