Rich Rodriguez will make his way into Lowell-Stevens Football Facility on Wednesday afternoon for national signing day and offer his thoughts on Arizona’s 2015 recruiting class.
He’ll perform the exact same shtick all coaches across the country will.
Rodriguez will undoubtedly share that the Wildcats have “filled some needs” with their latest recruiting class and that he “likes the potential” of the group.
It’s recruiting coachspeak 101.
No coach will ever walk into his signing day press conference and say, “Our class really isn’t that good.”
But what is the consensus on Arizona’s 2015 group? Is it really one filled with great potential?
“I think it’s a solid class — not spectacular,” said Brandon Huffman, the national director of recruiting for Scout.com. “(Rodriguez) is going to get guys he likes that other schools haven’t been as hot on. What he has done really well is he has gotten some key guys early on, which gives some positional balance and allows you to build depth at the key positions.”
Not only did Rodriguez lock up a good chunk of his class early in the recruiting process, he pursued players who can play multiple positions.
“He did a really nice job in the ‘athlete’ category, getting guys who can make plays on offense or defense,” said Adam Gorney, the West recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. “He’s done that throughout his entire career, and this class really reflects it. He’s not as worried about the position as he is with the athleticism of the player.”
The UA’s class is ranked 36th nationally by Scout and 39th by Rivals and 247sports.com.
Scout ranked Arizona’s 2014 class 30th nationally, and the class had four four-star recruits as opposed to just two this year.
With 26 wins in three seasons and a Pac-12 South championship, it would seem reasonable to think Rodriguez and the UA staff would be pursuing higher-profile recruits. But Huffman said that’s not the case because of where the Wildcats recruit.
“Part of the reason I’m not surprised they didn’t change much is because they aren’t just in Phoenix or California,” Huffman said. “Rodriguez is really spreading the net and recruiting guys from all over the country. I think he’s more interested in finding players that maybe don’t have the name recognition or star power than he is going after big-time recruits from one area.”
So what are the must-knows with this recruiting class?
Here are three:
1. No quarterback. For the first time since he has been at Arizona, Rodriguez doesn’t have a quarterback in his recruiting class.
Rodriguez brought in Javelle Allen and Josh Kern in his first class. He added Anu Solomon, Khari McGee and Jesse Scroggins in 2013 and then Jerrard Randall and Brandon Dawkins last year.
This year, the UA is one of just three Pac-12 programs without a quarterback in its recruiting class.
“I’m a little bit surprised by that,” Gorney said. “This is the best quarterback class in California in at least a decade. A lot of them committed early, but there were still plenty of other guys. I wouldn’t say it’s a lack of trying. They were in on some guys, but they just ended up passing on the position.”
Huffman said the emergence of Solomon might have hurt the UA’s chances at landing a quarterback in this class because he still has three years of eligibility remaining.
2. No McGinnis. The Wildcats were hoping to land a commitment this week from four-star linebacker Arthur McGinnis. Instead, McGinnis committed to Oklahoma late Monday night over Arizona.
McGinnis had a chance to be an instant impact guy at Arizona and earn playing time right away.
“I think it was a little bit of a stretch to go into New Orleans and go for him,” Gorney said. “It’s a miss, no doubt. He can cover ground, he’s physical, he’s talented — in the Pac-12 that would have been special. But I still like the mix of this Arizona class.”
The UA now has just one linebacker in the class, McGinnis’ high school teammate Kendal Franklin.
3. Rodriguez gets his “jitterbugs.” No Arizona recruiting class would be complete without a few speedsters.
Rodriguez found a couple of California high school products, Darick Holmes and Cedric Peterson. Holmes, listed at 5 feet 8 inches and 180 pounds, is a slot receiver who can also play defensive back. He committed to the UA over Arizona State, UCLA and others.
“The kid I really like is Darick Holmes,” Gorney said. “He can do a lot of things on a football field. He’s undersized, but he’s a great athlete and will fit in really well on that team.”
Peterson can also play multiple positions and has plus-speed. Anthony Mariscal, who can play safety and running back, and Shun Brown, a cornerback/wide receiver, also bring speed and versatility to the class.