Rodriguez lands recruiting class of 24 "OKG's"
Arizona head football coach Rich Rodriguez received fax after fax Wednesday morning from “OKG’s,” who will be the future of the Wildcats’ football program.
“OKG’s,” which stands for “our kind of guy” are “the guys that are talented and have the skill set,” Rodriguez said Wednesday. “They certainly have size, ability and the type of mentality that they’re competitive and want to keep getting better.”
On-campus recruiting coordinator and director of player personnel Matt Dudek came up with the saying as a way to explain what Rodriguez and the Arizona coaching staff wants out of potential players. Rodriguez is so hands-on in the recruiting process, in fact, that the second-year coach watches film of every prospect before giving the OK to extend a scholarship offer.
“I trust Matt and the rest of the personnel in the recruiting process, but before we offer a scholarship, I have to see them,” Rodriguez said.
The first week of February has become a holiday of sorts for college coaches, as Wednesday marked National Signing Day, or the first day that high school players can officially commit to where they will spend their college years playing football.
Arizona hauled in 24 total Letters of Intent, and the spectacle was broadcast live by the football program during a Google Plus Hangout that started at 5 a.m. MST. Of the recruits, 12 are offensive players, 10 are defensive and two fall under the category of athletes.
“We met a lot of needs,” Rodriguez said. “You definitely need to wait a few years before you can evaluate a recruiting class. There are several guys in this class that will probably have an opportunity to play early and be great contributors.”
Arguably the biggest open position that the 2013 recruiting class will have a chance to compete for is at quarterback.
Rodriguez signed quarterbacks Anu Solomon and junior college transfer Jesse Scroggins, who is already attending classes at the UA, in addition to athlete Khari McGee. Rodriguez said that the Fresno, Calif., native was “too good of an athlete not to take. Whether it’s at quarterback or receiver, Khari McGee can play at this level.”
Solomon, a four-star prospect according to Rivals.com, amassed a 56-4 career record in high school and won four state championships, Rodriguez said. In his senior year, he threw for 2,849 yards and 35 touchdowns.
For all of Solomon’s success, Scroggins may have the early nod in the fight for repetitions because of his experience. Scroggins committed to USC in 2010 before transferring to El Camino College in Torrance, Calif. Scroggins, who is 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, appeared in eight of 10 games at El Camino and threw for 1,148 yards, eight touchdowns and five interceptions.
“I think we certainly were looking for a guy that could come in and provide competition for [senior quarterback] B.J. Denker and the rest of the crew,” Rodriguez said. “I think he [Scroggins] was kind of lingering in junior college land and was looking for a place to prove himself.”
During the 2012 season, injuries and inexperience ravaged the Arizona defense to the point that Rodriguez was regularly sending walk-ons into the game for major playing time, simply because they were available, not because they were ready to play.
In this class, there are three defensive linemen, two defensive backs and five linebackers, the thinnest position on the roster. Rodriguez said it will take another class for Rodriguez to feel comfortable with the number of defensive players that actually see playing time, and like last year, “Some of these guys are going to play early and most likely before they’re ready, but we have to do our job as coaches to make newcomers ready.”
Football head coach Rich Rodriguez updated the media on the status of junior running back Ka’Deem Carey, who has had his share of legal troubles this semester. Carey is facing charges for misdemeanor assault and disorderly conduct following an incident with his pregnant ex-girlfriend, Marissa Rambow. Two weeks ago, Carey was ejected from a men’s basketball game against UCLA after refusing to leave the seats he was occupying. Rodriguez had only brief remarks on Carey in Wednesday’s press conference.
“We’re disciplining him,” Rodriguez said. “We’re aware of the situation, and he’s got some work to do. But he’s still on the team.”