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February 3, 2010
Arizona loses both starters at the defensive tackle position from the 2009 team, so it was essential for UA to land some players in the 2010 recruiting class that could come in with the potential to make an immediate impact along the defensive line.
One of the Wildcats' highest rated recruits is 6-foot-2, 275-pound defensive tackle Willie Mobley from Costa Mesa (Calif.) Orange Coast Community College.
The four-star lineman originally from Eden Prairie (Minn.) has been away from the playing field for a while and signing day serves as just the first step towards getting back out on the field and doing what he loves.
"I think I was more excited in high school," Mobley said. "But this means more than it did in high school. It's a new beginning and I am excited because I have been gone for so long and it's just a good feeling. I am just ready to show everyone that I can play, I'm back and nothing has changed."
Mobley had originally committed to Ohio State back in 2008, but transferred out with intentions on playing for UCLA. Unfortunately Mobley never qualified to play for the Bruins and was forced to spend time away from the football field.
He eventually chose UA as his destination, thanks in part to Wildcats defensive line coach Mike Tuiasosopo building a great relationship with Mobley that started while the defensive tackle was still in high school.
"The relationship has been more personal than just coach and player," Mobley said. "(In high school) he knew I was interested and he wanted to talk to me and was real cool, just like one of my friends.
"He has always been there for me and when I left Ohio he just said 'good luck' to me and he has always been there. Even though I didn't get to UCLA, he was praying for me and he has just been there forever."
Mobley is more than ready to get back on the field and compete. Unfortunately, he hasn't played football in games since high school, so there are going to be a lot of questions. Mobley sees his time away from the field as a learning experience and is anxious to move forward.
"The whole situation with UCLA and what happened to me and not getting in was more humbling than anything," Mobley said. "I really figured out how much I love football and how much it meant to me and how hard I really have to work to accomplish my goals and I am just excited for a new beginning."
That new beginning will start this summer for Mobley when he'll officially arrive on campus. He sees Arizona's potential and believes this time is primed to do some big things during his tenure as a Wildcat.
"I feel our defense is definitely going to improve," Mobley said. "Our young guys are going to step in and I can see a Rose Bowl and I can see myself playing against my old team. That's what I think about all the time right there.
"If I get to play against them at least one time in my career - and I really think we can -- because while Ohio State is a great team and have been great for a while, I definitely think we are on the rise."
Mobley is obviously excited to get his college career started and believes he is going to begin it in a time where the conference is up for the taking, thanks to the departure of USC's head coach.
"Losing Pete Carroll from the Pac-10 - Pete Carroll was the Pac-10," Mobley said. "It's kind of a new regime and I think coach (Mike) Stoops is that next guy that people will be like, 'Oh, that's coach Stoops. He is the Pac-10,'"
With his arrival on campus only a few months away, Mobley intends on putting in a lot of hard work between now and then. He understands that the Wildcats will give him a good opportunity to come in and make an impact early, which is something Mobley intends on taking advantage of.
"I am just going to work as hard as I can over these next four months before I get to Tucson," Mobley said. "From there it's just good competition. Whatever I can do to help the team, I am going to do, but I am here to compete."