The Star is counting down the Arizona Wildcats’ 2019 recruiting class leading up to Wednesday, early signing day. Today’s profiled players: Michael Wiley, Jamari Williams and Sylvain Yondjouen.
Position: Offensive line
Weight: 275 pounds
Hometown (high school): Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (Cardinal Gibbons)
When he committed: Nov. 1
How he fits: Arizona has pulled athletes out Florida in the past, but they’ve mostly been skill position players. Arizona offensive line coach Joe Gilbert was able to pick up Williams, a three-star recruit, after he decommitted from Louisville. Williams will join a veteran group that includes returners Josh McCaulley, Cody Creason, Thiyo Lukusa, Michael Eletise, Donovan Laie, Bryson Cain and Texas A&M transfer Robert Congel.
Williams played tackle in high school, but is expected to switch to guard. He plans on learning center to give the Wildcats depth behind McCauley. Nathan Eldridge, who started over McCauley in 2017, is transferring.
He said it: “Off the field, I’m always joking and just a goofy person. I always care about my friends. I don’t know if I have a picture on Twitter, but I walk around with a little Chucky doll, that’s my alter ego. I try to give you nightmares and I’m really aggressive and physical. I’m not dirty, but I just play the game with a lot of passion and love. The game has done so much for my life. I also try to bring a lot of swag to it. You’re gonna see that Florida swag when I get to Arizona.” — Williams
Position: Running back
Weight: 175 pounds
Hometown (high school): Houston (Strake Jesuit)
When he committed: May 26
How he fits: The three-star running back was the second commit of the 2019 class behind Phoenix punter Kyle Ostendorp. Wiley selected the Wildcats over McNeese State, Princeton and Yale. His stature, skill set and jersey number (21) resemble current Arizona starter J.J. Taylor, who was named to The Associated Press All-Pac-12 team as an all-purpose player.
Wiley finished his high school career with 2,632 rushing yards and 33 touchdowns, and is a track star at Strake Jesuit. Wiley was recruited by UA’s former running backs coach Clarence McKinney before he accepted the Texas Southern head coaching job.
With his speed and shiftiness, Wiley could contribute on special teams right away. It’s going to be harder for him to see the field as a running back. Taylor will return as the starter with soon-to-be junior Gary Brightwell as the backup, and Darrius “Bam” Smith and Nathan Tilford also in the mix.
He said it: “I’m a very disciplined player that works hard and plays with a chip on his shoulder.” — Wiley, in a text message to the Star
Position: Defensive end
Weight: 232 pounds
When he committed: Nov. 24
How he fits: The biggest mystery of Arizona’s 2019 class may just turn out to be the most important one. The three-star Belgian edge rusher is Arizona’s highest-ranked recruit and the 25th-best defensive end for the 2019 class, according to 247Sports.com. His tall frame with room and projectable body type makes him one of the UA’s most intriguing recruits.
Yondjouen verbally committed to the Wildcats during the first half of the Territorial Cup game against ASU, picking the Wildcats over offers from Cincinnati, Colorado and Virginia. Yondjouen runs the 40-yard dash in 4.58 seconds, good speed for a defensive lineman. But he’s only played football since age 16, and played against lesser competition overseas.
Yondjouen adds depth to a defensive end rotation that includes returners Jalen Harris, JB Brown, Jalen Cochran and Justin Belknap. By the time Yondjouen becomes a junior, he could become Arizona’s most imposing defensive player.
He said it: “They’ll get the best of me. No, but seriously, I am a team player. It is very important for me to feel myself in a family with my teammates and my coaches. If I feel like that, I’ll be a leader, a motivator and also a killer on the field. I don’t want to look arrogant but I really love to win.” — Yondjouen.