When Rich Rodriguez and the Arizona Wildcats were sent to Shreveport, Louisiana, last season for the AdvoCare V100 Bowl, the head coach joked that his running backs coach Calvin Magee, a New Orleans native, might like to stay there after the game.
It turns out it wasn’t that big a wisecrack.
Magee has spent a lot of time in the Bayou State the past few months recruiting. It’s continuing to pay off for the UA.
The Wildcats received a commitment from New Orleans high school defensive end/linebacker Kendal Franklin on Tuesday afternoon. He’s the third Louisiana high school prospect to pledge to the UA for 2015, joining New Orleans cornerback Antonio Parks and Shreveport running back Orlando Bradford.
Magee has served as the lead recruiter for all three.
The Franklin commitment was even a little personal for Magee. He went to high school with Franklin’s uncle, Barrett Franklin.
“We already had that bond there when he came down to talk to me for the first time,” Franklin told the Star on Tuesday. “It was big to have that relationship established and just made everything feel so much more comfortable.”
Magee visited Franklin in the spring but didn’t offer him a scholarship right away. Instead, Franklin said Magee wanted to get to know him as a person first, and after spending a night with the pass rusher and his family, the UA assistant was impressed.
He offered Franklin a scholarship shortly after. Franklin, rated as a two-star prospect by the Scout.com recruiting service and Rivals.com, decided Tuesday to end his recruitment and commit to the Wildcats. He chose Arizona over Boise State. He also had offers from Houston, Louisville, Memphis, Southern Miss, Tulane and others.
Franklin has never been to Tucson but will officially visit the campus in October for the USC game.
“Committing without visiting was something I talked to my coaches and family about, and they all said that if that’s where my heart is, that’s where I have to be,” Franklin said. “So it all just felt right, even though I haven’t been there yet.”
Franklin played both defensive end and linebacker for Warren Easton High School and said he’s willing to play either for Arizona. The Wildcats are likely to put him at linebacker to start.
“I’ll do whatever they want me to do,” Franklin said. “I really don’t have a preference. I just want to play and help them in the best possible spot. When I sat down with my dad and coaches to go over the decision, we talked about the pros and cons for all schools. One pro for Arizona was the fronts they run on defense. It seemed perfect for me.”
Franklin is the 17th known commitment for 2015 and seventh defensive player of the group. Rodriguez said in February during national signing day that he expected to be more deliberate with the 2015 class than he was a season ago. But the UA had just nine commitments at this time last year.
to watch list
UA center Steven Gurrola was named to the Rimmington Trophy watch list Tuesday morning. The award is given to the best center in the country.
Gurrola was one of six Pac-12 centers put on the list
All total, 66 centers were named to the watch list.
Gurrola, a junior college transfer, started all 13 games for Arizona last season in his first year with the program. He became one of Ka’Deem Carey’s favorite blockers, with the running back doing a lot of his damage up the middle.
Gurrola helped the UA offense average 264.9 rushing yards per game last season.
The center is originally from Phoenix and prepped at Washington High School before attending Glendale Community College.
Patterson rated high in new rankings
Quarterback Shea Patterson, who is committed to the UA for 2016, is ranked 35th in the newest ESPN.com Top 300 for his class.
ESPN.com’s rankings were released Tuesday.
The quarterback is a high school teammate of Bradford’s and another Louisiana high school product Magee has influenced.
He committed to the UA two years ago and has remained solidly sold on the school ever since. He has offers from Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oklahoma and others. Listed at 6 feet 2 inches and 183 pounds, Patterson is more of a drop-back passer than a dual-threat quarterback.