Recruits notice Wildcats' buzz

2009-11-03T00:00:00Z Recruits notice Wildcats' buzz By Ryan Finley Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
November 03, 2009 12:00 am  • 


The Arizona Wildcats' football coaches hit the recruiting trail during their bye week and came back encouraged.

A 5-2 record and No. 18 BCS ranking has a way of opening eyes - and doors.

"Winning is the best formula for recruiting players. The more you win, the more exposure you get," UA coach Mike Stoops said. "These are all good signs for us. We're starting to catch up, recruiting-wise, and the players we're on right now will help improve our situation. It all kind of goes together."

The Wildcats (5-2 overall, 3-1 Pac-10), who take on Washington State on Saturday at Arizona Stadium, have already received 10 verbal commitments for the 2010 season.

Derek Earls, a junior college linebacker the recruiting service lists as a four-star recruit, verbally committed last week.

Arizona could add more recruits in the coming weeks, especially if the team keeps winning.

Four-star running back Jordon James, four-star linebacker Josh Shirley, four-star safety Tony Jefferson and three-star linebacker Victor Burnett are expected to take their official visits to the UA this weekend.

NCAA rules prohibit players from talking about specific players; speaking generally, however, outside receivers coach David Nichol said the UA's success could lead to more recruiting victories. Winning improves Arizona's standing with players the program is currently recruiting and opens the door to recruits who might not otherwise be considering the Wildcats.

"There are some guys that you try to call this time of year to get back onto," he said. "You try to take the momentum and go with it, if you can."

Quarterback Nick Foles said Arizona's hot streak is "going to help us a lot" on the recruiting trail.

"Winning games and being ranked is always going to help you," Foles said. "I remember when I was in high school … If you're getting recruiting by a team that's nationally ranked and winning games, you're like, 'Wow, I want to go there.'"

Grigs, Nwoko still out

Tailbacks Nicolas Grigsby and Greg Nwoko are both "very questionable" to play against Washington State, Stoops said, casting more doubt as to who might line up in the backfield.

Sophomore Keola Antolin is expected to start Saturday, with senior Nick Booth and true freshman Daniel Jenkins backing him up.

Stoops said Monday that H-Back Taimi Tutogi could also carry the load, if needed.

"Taimi played some running back in high school," Stoops said. "We're trying to alter our running back situation in terms of depth so we can have more guys available to us."

Defensive end Brooks Reed is still questionable to play because of a high ankle sprain.

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Pac-12 South football standings

  Conference Overall
Arizona 7 2 0 0.778 10 3 0 0.769
USC 6 3 0 0.667 9 4 0 0.692
UCLA 6 3 0 0.667 9 3 0 0.750
Arizona State 6 3 0 0.667 10 3 0 0.769
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
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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