UA football: Rodriguez, UA enter new recruiting frontiers

2011-11-29T00:01:00Z 2014-07-08T15:42:52Z UA football: Rodriguez, UA enter new recruiting frontiersPatrick Finley Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
November 29, 2011 12:01 am  • 

Shortly after taking the NCAA recruiting test, a practice exam all coaches must pass each year, Rich Rodriguez called Beau Boyster.

The offensive lineman from St. John Bosco High School in Southern California had, like the Arizona Wildcats' other 14 verbal commitments, been waiting to hear who would run the team.

Now, he's excited.

"We've been talking back and forth - he emails really fast, too -about the kids we're trying to keep where I'm at," Boyster said about Rodriguez, Arizona's new coach.

Boyster wants Rodriguez to recruit Southern California, something he did not do at Michigan.

"All we have is spread offenses and running quarterbacks out here," Boyster said. "There's seven guys on my team who are going to have over 30 offers (from Division 1-A schools). …

"If you go through the West, you'll find a kid like Denard Robinson. Maybe better."

Michigan's star quarterback grew up in Florida. The Sunshine State was one of the three most popular, along with Michigan and Ohio, in Rodriguez's three Wolverines classes.

The Arizona Wildcats have zero players from those three states.

The UA has 40 Californians. In three years at Michigan, Rod-riguez successfully recruited one player from the Golden State.

This will be foreign territory, for sure.

Rodriguez said Saturday he wanted to "blanket" Arizona - he lured two Phoenix-area players to Michigan in 2009- and recruit California, Texas and Louisiana. He included northern states, to take advantage of Tucson's weather, and could always return to Florida.

"We had extensive discussions about recruiting, and if you're in Tucson, Arizona, what's your strategy?" UA athletic director Greg Byrne said. "We can get into a lot of different areas for a lot of different reasons. If you're a young man in Iowa and don't particularly like cold weather, why wouldn't you want to go to Arizona?

"Guys who recruit well can recruit well in a lot of different areas. A lot of recruiting is staying on top of it, effort, making phone calls. Coach Rodriguez and his staff had a very good history of that.

"Balancing that with people who have some connections in the western part of the country, and in Texas? I have confidence he's able to do that."

Byrne knows recruiting. After Mike Stoops was fired Oct. 10, the athletic director technically became an on-field coach, which gave him the right to call recruits at home and preach patience.

Because he did not go on in-home visits, Byrne did not have to take the NCAA's required recruiting test.

Once Byrne was removed as coach a few days later - former UA player Cam Nelson took his place - recruits knew they could legally call Byrne for updates.

"I spent a lot of time reassuring and listening," said Byrne, who cannot speak about specific recruits.

Boyster, however, said occasional updates from the athletic director - whom he called "Coach Byrne" - were helpful. He said Byrne even asked what kind of offensive schemes he preferred.

Boyster scrapped plans to graduate high school early and participate in spring practice, but he said the Wildcats are his favorite, especially if Rodriguez could retain UA's offensive line coach, Robert Anae.

Boyster will visit Oregon and TCU in December.

"I honestly think I'll end up at Arizona," Boyster said.

Thus far, no UA verbal commitment has categorically ruled out the Wildcats. Recruits can sign a binding National Letter of Intent starting Feb. 1.

"I think most of us are going to stay," Boyster said.

Rodriguez will honor the previous verbal commitments, with a caveat.

"I'll be honest with them … if a guy calls and says, 'Do I really fit in what you want to do?' and he doesn't, but I say yes, I'm not being fair to him," Rodriguez said.

The coach said "being brutally honest sometimes is hard in recruiting, but it's worked for me in the past, so I'll continue to do that now."

Rodriguez said the Wildcats were "short on numbers in certain positions."

He called the team "thin" at linebacker and safety. Typically, he likes to keep four or five quarterbacks.

"I haven't broken it all down by position yet," Rod-riguez said. "We're probably going to wait until I get a defensive coordinator to figure that part of it out.

"But it's going to be important for us to make sure we sign the right number of people at the right number of positions in this year's class."

UA's 2012 recruiting class ... for now

Pos. Name Ht., Wt. Hometown (last school)

WR Jarrell Bennett 5-9, 155 New Orleans (Karr Magnet School)

DT Gerron Borne 6-2, 270 Reserve, La. (East St. John HS)

C Beau Boyster 6-4, 275 Bellflower, Calif. (St. John Bosco HS)

WR Julian Brooks 6-2, 185 Chatsworth, Calif. (Sierra Canyon HS)

DT Cayman Bundage 6-2, 280 Oklahoma City (Douglass HS)

OT T.D. Gross 6-6, 255 Santee, Calif. (Santana HS)

OG Zach Hemmila 6-3, 275 Chandler (Chandler HS)

DE Kyle Kelley 6-3, 230 Irvine, Calif. (Woodbridge HS)

QB Josh Kern 6-5, 185 San Antonio (Tom Clark HS)

RB Anthony Lopez 5-10, 185 Gilbert (Mesquite HS)

TE Taylor McNamara 6-5, 235 San Diego (Westview HS)

DE Dwight Melvin 6-1, 265 Laveen (Fairfax HS)

OT Steven Moore 6-7, 265 Elk Grove, Calif. (Elk Grove HS)

S Devian Shelton 6-2, 180 Inglewood, Calif. (Inglewood HS)

QB Nate Sudfeld 6-5, 215 Modesto, Calif. (Modesto Christian)

Foreign territory

The majority of Rich Rod-riguez's recruits at Michigan came from areas the Arizona Wildcats rarely recruited under Mike Stoops.

This year's UA team featured, among others, 40 Californians, 16 Texans and 16 Arizonans.

Here's a look at where Rod-riguez's Michigan recruiting classes came from:


Ohio 7

Michigan 5

Florida 3

New Jersey 3

Texas 3

South Carolina 1

Nevada 1

Connecticut 1

Indiana 1


Florida 8

Michigan 4

Ohio 3

Arizona 2

Pennsylvania 1

South Carolina 1

New Jersey 1

California 1

Illinois 1


Ohio 12

Michigan 4

Florida 3

Pennsylvania 3

Louisiana 2

Maryland 1

Wisconsin 1

South Carolina 1

Texas 1


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

Free Wildcats Sports Newsletter

University of Arizona sports news and blog headlines, delivered daily

Follow the Arizona Daily Star

Featured businesses

View more...

Deals, offers & events

View more...