Welcome to early signing day, Part 2. It’s the first for Arizona under Kevin Sumlin. The Wildcats' class is expected to have 20 signees for 2019.
Despite a late push from the hometown USC Trojans, Southern Californian Chris Roland signed with the Arizona Wildcats. Roland had been committed to the UA since July 29.
Roland, a Palmdale native, is a 6-foot, 180-pound defensive back and was recruited by cornerbacks coach Demetrice Martin. Roland will come to Arizona as a cornerback, joining four-star Bobby Wolfe and three-star Maurice Gaines Jr.
“The culture that’s there, it’s something that I want to be a part of. I feel like I fit in that program and since the first day coach (Martin) recruited me, I knew he wouldn’t lead me in the wrong direction. That’s pretty much it. I can see myself there for three to four years,” Roland said.
Arizona has announced two more additions to its 2019 recruiting class, including record-setting quarterback Grant Gunnell.
Gunnell leaves St. Pius X High School in Houston as the all-time leader in Texas prep history in passing yards and touchdowns. He is set to enroll at Arizona in January, along with high school teammate Jalen Curry, a four-star wide receiver.
Gunnell is a rated as a three-star prospect but has the size (6-6, 192), smarts and work ethic to become a star for the Wildcats.
“He’s really impressive on tape,” Pac-12 Networks analyst Yogi Roth said. “He has a really impressive mind.
“When I watched him online, giving speeches at award (ceremonies), this guy’s got a presence I didn’t see a lot of at Elite 11 (this past summer). He’s a quiet young man – kind of that silent-assassin type of personality.
“What Noel (Noel Mazzone, Arizona’s offensive coordinator and QB coach) will have to do is put everything together – the huge frame, the impressive arm, the intelligent mind, the competitive spirit.”
The other addition is linebacker Eddie Siaumau from American Samoa.
Siaumau primarily played safety in high school but projects as a linebacker at Arizona, possibly at the hybrid “Stud” position. The three-star prospect is listed at 6-3, 215 pounds.
One four-star addition on early signing day wasn’t enough.
Shortly after receiver Jalen Curry announced he would attend Arizona, another Houston prospect did likewise.
Defensive back Bobby Wolfe announced via Twitter that he’s heading to Tucson.
Soon after, Arizona made it official:
Curry and Wolfe are the highest-rated players in Arizona’s 2019 class – and proof that Sumlin and his staff are capable of closing with high-profile prospects.
Wolfe played for James Madison High School, where he totaled 126 tackles and 12 interceptions in his career. He held offers from a plethora of Power Five schools, including Texas A&M, Ole Miss, Georgia, Oklahoma and Oregon.
The Star recently spoke to Wolfe. Check out what he had to say here.
Meanwhile, Arizona added another player to its defensive front – end Kwabena Watson.
Watson is listed at 6-2, 225 pounds, and he projects as an edge rusher in Arizona’s scheme. He recorded 21 sacks in 34 games at Edison High School in Fresno, California.
Watson's arrival is critical given that the UA lost defensive end Sylvain Yondjouen earlier in the day to Georgia Tech.
Arizona has landed a big-time player who wasn’t among its earlier commitments.
Receiver Jalen Curry announced that he will sign with the Wildcats. Curry was a teammate of quarterback Grant Gunnell at St. Pius X High School in Houston. Gunnell has been committed to Arizona since June, and he’s bringing his top wideout with him to Tucson.
Curry becomes the highest-ranked player to sign with Arizona in the 2019 class. He is a consensus four-star prospect who held offers from a ton of blue-blood programs.
At 6-2 and 200-plus pounds, Curry brings the size the coaching staff likes on the perimeter.
We’ll have more on Curry’s addition to the UA class later today.
Jaden Mitchell finally has become an Arizona Wildcat.
Mitchell, a wide receiver from Las Vegas, originally was supposed to be part of Arizona’s 2018 class. But he suffered a knee injury in the first game of his senior season, and the UA staff asked him to grayshirt, delaying his enrollment for a year.
Sumlin and his staff honored the school’s commitment to Mitchell, who recently posted this video showing how much that gesture meant to him:
Man... Tore my ACL first game, had to learn to walk, run, jump again, took extra classes & graduated early, had to greyshirt (wait a year), coaching change, not knowing what was going to happen & now I’m here. God is good. First in family to go to a university. 🙏🏽 @ArizonaFBall pic.twitter.com/5HDbPiiirU— Jaden I. Mitchell (@iamjmitch_) December 14, 2018
Mitchell played at Desert Pines High School, the same school that produced current Wildcats Tony Fields II and Edgar Burrola.
Arizona also continued to fortify its defensive front with the addition of Kane Bradford.
Bradford is a 6-5, 270-pound defensive tackle from Skyline High School in Dallas. He is the third interior defensive lineman to join Arizona’s 2019 class, the first from the high school ranks.
Arizona has added another defensive back but has lost a defensive end.
Cornerback Maurice Gaines is the latest player to sign his national letter of intent Letter of Intent with the Wildcats. Gaines is originally from the Bay Area but attended St. Thomas More School in Connecticut this year.
Gaines totaled 150 tackles, six interceptions and 10 touchdowns over the course of his high school career. He also has competed in track and field.
Gaines is expected to enroll in January. He is the fifth midyear enrollee among the 12 signees Arizona has announced thus far.
The Wildcats suffered their first significant loss of the day when defensive end Sylvain Yondjouen signed with Georgia Tech.
Yondjouen, an uber-athletic prospect from Belgium, had been committed to Arizona for some time. But Georgia Tech made a late push, and Yondjouen changed his mind.
Arizona loses its top three wide receivers from last season. The Wildcats are starting to restock the cupboard.
Wideout Jalen Johnson is the latest player to officially join Arizona’s 2019 signing class.
Johnson is listed at 6-3, 183 pounds. He caught 45 passes for 789 yards and six touchdowns as a senior at Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Corona, California.
Pac-12 Networks analyst Yogi Roth said Johnson was one of the best-kept secrets in Southern California in this recruiting cycle.
“He has great ability to adjust to the ball,” Roth said. “He searches for it late and has late hands. He’s a boundary guy. Just let him run and do his thing.”
The UA has landed its first defensive back for the class of 2019.
Jaxen Turner from Rancho Verde High School in Moreno Valley, California, officially signed his national letter of intent with Arizona.
Turner is listed at 6-2, 185 pounds and projects as a safety, although safeties coach John Rushing said Turner “is capable of playing multiple positions in the secondary.”
Turner played on both sides of the ball for Rancho Verde and also plays basketball for the Mustangs.
“I love that he’s a basketball player,” Pac-12 Networks analyst Yogi Roth said of Turner. “He moves extremely well. He’s bigger in person when you meet him. He was dramatically under-recruited.”
Who might benefit from Arizona’s upgraded offensive line? Someone like tailback Michael Wiley, who has officially joined the Wildcats’ 2019 class.
Wiley is a 6-foot, 190 pounder from Strake Jesuit College Prep in Houston. Wiley stuck with his commitment despite the recent departure of running backs coach Clarence McKinney, now the head coach at Texas Southern.
Wiley is the first skill-position player to be announced by the UA for ’19. Wiley totaled 2,632 rushing yards and 29 touchdowns over his final two seasons at Strake Jesuit.
Of the nine players Arizona has announced thus far, Wiley is the fourth from the state of Texas.
Another signee. Another lineman. Another early enrollee.
Noticing a pattern here?
Defensive tackle Myles Tapusoa is the latest player to join Arizona’s 2019 class.
Tapusoa, who’s originally from Rose Park, Utah, played at Eastern Arizona Community College. He is the fifth lineman to officially sign with the Wildcats, who have announced six signees so far.
Tapusoa is the fourth junior-college player in the class. All four are expected to enroll in January, per the UA, enabling them to get a head-start in the strength program and to participate in spring practice.
Arizona continues to build from the inside out.
The latest additions to the Wildcats’ 2019 signing class are – you guessed it – linemen.
The first is Josh Donovan, a 6-6, 310-pound blocker from Trinity Valley Community College in Athens, Texas. The UA officially announced his arrival moments ago:
Meanwhile, local product Jordan Morgan of Marana made his pledge to his hometown school official:
Inked. ✍️Marana OT Jordan Morgan is officially an Arizona Wildcat. pic.twitter.com/oo7FA15ZOp— The Wildcaster (@TheWildcaster) December 19, 2018
Both Donovan and Morgan are rated as three-star prospects.
Every signee Arizona has announced thus far is a lineman, including three on the offensive side of the ball.
Donovan is expected to enroll in January, according to the UA, bringing the midyear-enrollee count up to three so far.
Here's more from Morgan:
Now that Jordan Morgan is signed with Arizona, he’s excited to get started with the other 2019 OL recruits in Jamari Williams, Paiton Fears and Josh Donovan. #NationalSigningDay pic.twitter.com/GZA6l6qyH6— Justin Spears (@JustinESports) December 19, 2018
Sumlin and his staff have been all over the state of Texas, and the fruits of their labor are starting to materialize.
Two more additions to Arizona’s 2019 class have become public, and they’re both players from Texas.
Linebacker Derrion Clark of South Oak Cliff High School in Dallas has signed his national letter of intent, according to the school:
It’s official shout out South Oak Cliff standout linebacker for signing his National Letter of Intent with the University of Arizona Wildcats! Congratulations Derrion on a job well earned! #SOCNATION pic.twitter.com/1mhi5GL2X5— Coach Traylor (@coach_traylor) December 19, 2018
The UA announced that defensive tackle Trevon Mason also is in the fold. Mason, listed at 6-5, 280, is from Arlington and played at Navarro College. He is expected to enroll in January and will have three years to play two, according to the UA.
Offensive lineman Paiton Fears also is expected to enroll next month, per the school.
Updating an earlier item, offensive lineman Jamari Williams is now officially a Wildcat as well:
The rebuilding of Arizona’s offensive line continues.
The UA announced that Paiton Fears, a massive blocker from Hutchinson (Kansas) Community College, has signed his national letter of intent.
Fears, who’s listed at 6-5, 327, announced his commitment late Tuesday afternoon. He is the second offensive lineman to join the 2019 class. Jamari Williams of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, signed with Arizona earlier this morning (see below).
Fears held offers from at least three other Power Five programs: Baylor, Missouri and West Virginia.
Arizona eventually solidified its line last season but desperately needs more size and depth. The Wildcats lose senior tackle Layth Friekh. Fears is projected to play tackle for the UA.
Arizona continues to take special teams seriously under Sumlin.
The Wildcats officially added a scholarship punter this morning, as Kyle Ostendorp of Phoenix Desert Vista signed his national letter of intent. His high school tweeted the news:
Ostendorp will compete for the starting punting job with another freshman, Cameron Weinberg, who is expected to join the team as a preferred walk-on.
I would like to announce my verbally commitment to UofA. The coaching staff brings great energy and makes it feel like another home for me. Lastly I would like to thank God for giving me this opportunity and everyone around me that has guided me through this process. #BearDown pic.twitter.com/mskkb2k3Mb— Cameron Weinberg (@CameronWeinberg) December 15, 2018
One of the first acts by Sumlin’s staff last offseason was bringing in grad-transfer punter Dylan Klumph from Cal. Klumph immediately upgraded the position, averaging 42.2 yards per punt.
At least one national letter of intent has been signed by a future Wildcat.
Offensive lineman Jamari Williams has made his pledge to Arizona official. Williams is from Cardinal Gibbons High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The school tweeted out the news:
Williams (6-4, 275) is a three-start prospect, according to 247Sports’ composite rankings. He is likely to play on the inside.
Offensive line has been a major focus for Sumlin and his staff during this recruiting cycle. Expect Arizona to add several more blockers today.
I’m a wildcat for life 💯 pic.twitter.com/nsGFMIFkZk— TRAILBLAZER 🔥🔥 (@jamariwilliams3) December 19, 2018
Another Fort Lauderdale product, Kaleb Boateng, won't be one of them. Boateng has signed with No. 2-ranked Clemson.