Welcome to the first-ever Early Signing Day for college football. We’ll give you all the latest news right here on the Arizona Wildcats’ activity. Be sure to check back frequently, as this blog will be updated throughout the day.
UCLA made a late push for cornerback McKenzie Barnes, who had been committed to Arizona since August.
The Wildcats were able to hold on to him.
Barnes, who’s from Fresno, California, signed with Arizona late this afternoon. He became the 16th player and second corner to officially join the UA’s 2018 class.
Continuing a day-long theme, Barnes is listed at 6-foot-2 – excellent length for a cornerback.
Will Arizona have the same good fortune with San Diego tailback Martell Irby, who also received a late offer from UCLA? Stay tuned.
UPDATE: Arizona announced a class of 16 players. Irby is not among them. The news release states, however, that UA coach Rich Rodriguez and his staff "will continue their recruiting efforts and add to the class in the coming weeks before the February signing period and beyond."
Arizona continues to stockpile big receiving targets.
The Wildcats have added another one in wideout Tre Adams of Frisco, Texas. Adams is the third wide receiver to join the UA’s 2018 class, and he’s the fourth pass catcher who’s listed at 6-3 or taller.
Adams is the 15th signee Arizona has announced. Word on cornerback McKenzie Barnes – who received a late offer from UCLA – is expected soon.
OK, here’s where things stand: Arizona has announced the signing of 14 players so far. The Wildcats might sign two or three more by the end of the day.
Here are the 14 who are locked in (listed in alphabetical order):
- WR Jailen Bailey
- OL Steven Bailey
- CB Jhevon Hill
- DT Myke Irving
- LB Issaiah Johnson
- DT PJ Johnson
- OT Donovan Laie
- WR Thomas Marcus
- TE Jake Peters
- RB Darrius Smith
- DE Nahe Sulunga
- OT David Watson
- TE Zach Williams
- S Christian Young
Three players we’re still waiting to hear from are receiver Tre Adams of Frisco, Texas; tailback Martell Irby of San Diego; and cornerback McKenzie Barnes of Fresno, California. The latter two recently received offers from UCLA, giving them something to seriously consider.
Two other UA commits, quarterback Jamarye Joiner of Cienega and defensive end Adam Plant Jr. of Las Vegas, have said they will wait until February to sign. Both have said they are “100 percent” committed to Arizona.
Multisport athletes. Versatile players. Tall guys.
Sensing a trend here?
Arizona has added another one who fits those criteria in Zach Williams of Johns Creek, Georgia.
The recruiting sites list the 6-foot-3 Williams as a wide receiver, but he might project to tight end.
Arizona has yet to announce that Williams has signed, but his high school – specifically his high school’s track team - tweeted a picture of his signing-day ceremony:
When it becomes official, Williams will be the 14th player to join Arizona’s 2018 class today. There are still a handful of recruits whose status is up in the air.
UPDATE: Arizona has announced the signing of Williams. The UA is calling him a tight end.
The flip game goes both ways.
Safety Christian Young, once committed to Iowa State, officially became an Arizona Wildcat this morning.
Young became the 13th player to sign with the UA on Day 1 of the early signing period. Young is from Richmond, Texas. Arizona is listing him at 6-2, 195.
Young is the 11th signee being listed at 6-2 or taller. He’s the second player to sign from the state of Texas, joining tailback Darrius Smith.
Young de-committed from Iowa State on Oct. 13 and committed to Arizona a little over a moth later.
Adding size on both lines was Arizona’s biggest priority in this recruiting cycle.
The Wildcats are succeeding so far.
Junior-college defensive tackle PJ Johnson signed with Arizona this morning, becoming the second 300-plus-pound DT to join the UA’s 2018 class.
Johnson (6-4, 315) comes to Arizona from City College of San Francisco. He and fellow D-tackle Mykee Irving of Calabasas, California, will be early enrollees, giving them a jump on learning the playbook and getting in good enough shape to contribute next season.
Johnson began his college career at Sacramento State but played only one full season there because of health issues.
Half of Arizona's 12 signees thus far are defensive or offensive linemen.
Arizona’s 2018 receiving corps has gotten a lot bigger over the last week.
First, 6-5 senior Shawn Poindexter learned he’d get another year of eligibility. Now, the Wildcats have added another lanky leaper.
Thomas Marcus, a 6-foot-3 multisport athlete from San Diego, has signed with Arizona, the school announced.
Marcus, who’s also impressive on the basketball court, projects to outside receiver. He is the second wideout in Arizona’s ’18 class, joining Jailen Bailey.
Arizona added only one scholarship offensive lineman on signing day last February. The Wildcats already have three inked today.
Steven Bailey of Glendale Community College has signed with Arizona, the school announced.
Bailey (6-2, 290) is an interior blocker who will play guard and/or center for the Wildcats.
Bailey joins David Watson and Donovan Laie as members of the 2018 UA O-line class. Arizona added transfers Tshiyombu Lukusa and Maisen Knight over the summer.
Arizona announced Tuesday night that Garin Justice from Florida Atlanta will become the Wildcats' new offensive line coach.
Massive defensive tackle Mykee Irving has signed with the UA, the school announced. Arizona is listing him at 6-4, 320.
Irving played at Calabasas (Calif.) High, the same school as defensive end Nahe Sulunga, who also signed with the Wildcats this morning. Second-year safety Isaiah Hayes also played at Calabasas.
Irving is the ninth player to join the UA’s 2018 class, the fourth on the defensive side of the ball.
Arizona continues to get bigger on both sides of the ball.
Jake Peters, a 6-foot-4 tight end from Rancho Santa Margarita, California, has signed with the Wildcats, the school announced.
Peters, a three-star prospect, is a legacy kid; both of his parents attended Arizona.
Peters is the eighth player to sign with the UA today and the sixth who is listed at 6-3 or taller.
Arizona defensive coordinator Marcel Yates likes like tall defensive backs, and the Wildcats just landed one.
Jhevon Hill of San Bernardino, California, has signed with the UA, the school announced.
Hill is listed at 6-3, 185 pounds. While 247Sports categorizes him as an athlete, and Rivals as a safety, Arizona is calling Hill a cornerback.
Hill is the seventh player to sign with Arizona this morning, the third on the defensive side of the ball.
Arizona is deep into the process of rebuilding its offensive line.
Tackle Donovan Laie has signed with the UA, the school announced. Laie is the second lineman to sign with Arizona today, joining David Watson of Amphi. Earlier this year, transfer Tshiyombu Lukusa joined the program. He could start next year for a unit that loses three starters.
Laie is a three-star prospect from Oceanside, California. The UA lists him at 6-6, 290. He is the sixth player to officially sign with Arizona this morning.
Arizona has landed its first defensive lineman for the class of 2018.
Defensive end Nahe Sulunga of Calabasas, California, has signed with the UA, the school announced. Sulunga has good size at 6-3, 255 pounds. He is the only end expected to sign with Arizona today; Adam Plant Jr. of Las Vegas has said he will wait until February.
Sulunga’s high school teammate, defensive tackle Mykee Irving, is expected to sign with Arizona at some point today as well. Irving committed in August and helped recruit Sulunga to Tucson.
Sulunga is the fifth player to sign with the Wildcats so far.
Arizona has added its first defensive player to the class of 2018.
Linebacker Issaiah Johnson has signed with the UA, the school announced. Johnson is listed at 6-3, 210. He primarily has played inside linebacker in high school but could project to a pass-rushing role with the Wildcats.
Johnson is from Los Alamitos, California, and is a three-star prospect. He’s the fourth player to officially join Arizona’s ’18 class today.
Prospect No. 3 is in the books for Arizona before 9 a.m.
Receiver Jailen Bailey of San Diego Lincoln has signed his paperwork, the school announced. Arizona is listing Bailey, a three-star recruit, at 5-11, 180 pounds.
Arizona could land as many as four wideouts today. Bailey is the only one who projects as a true slot receiver. Commit Jaden Mitchell of Las Vegas plans to delay his enrollment after suffering a season-ending knee injury earlier this year.
Arizona has made its first moves, announcing the signing of running back Darrius Smith of Pearland, Texas, and offensive lineman David Watson of Tucson.
Coach Rich Rodriguez had hoped to make inroads in Texas this year, and the Wildcats are off to a good start. Smith (5-9, 170) is one of four commits from the state, although it remains to be seen if all four will end up at Arizona. It also remains to be seen whether a second running back, Martell Irby, will sign with the UA. He recently received an offer from UCLA.
The second UA signee of the day is offensive lineman David Watson of Amphi. Watson is following the path of his father, also named David, who played offensive line for the Wildcats in the mid-1990s. Arizona is listing the younger Watson at 6-5, 290.