The new guys: football signs 25
National Signing Day is always a time full of hope and excitement for coaches and fans alike, and this year is no different. Arizona football welcomed 25 “Our Kind of Guy” players, nine of whom come in as four-star recruits, in the third recruiting class for coach Rich Rodriguez at Arizona.
“This class, particularly the guys on defense, are all going to get thrown in there with a shot and see what happens,” Rodriguez said.
Of the 25 players who had signed their National Letter of Intent as of Wednesday, 14 are offensive players and 11 are defensive.
On the offensive side of the ball, Rodriguez and his coaching staff signed five offensive linemen, two running backs, two tight ends, three wide receivers and two quarterbacks.
Arizona Football Director of on Campus Recruiting Matt Dudek and Head Football Coach Rich Rodriguez talk on the phone with local incoming freshman like Cameron Denson about their commitment to the UA on Wednesday.
Chief among the offensive players are highly touted receiver Cam Denson and running back Nick Wilson.
Denson, a four-star recruit according to Scout.com and Rivals, played at local Salpointe Catholic High School. The 6-foot-1 athlete chose Arizona over offers from Notre Dame and Oklahoma, among others.
Denson will have a unique opportunity to affect the game in all three aspects of the ball: offense, defense and special teams.
Wilson, a four-star recruit according to Scout.com and Rivals, comes from Central High School in Fresno, Calif. He chose Arizona over offers from Arkansas, Boise State and Wisconsin, among others.
“Nick is really talented,” Rodriguez said. “He does run hard, so we’ll see what he can do.”
On the defensive side of the ball, Rodriguez and his coaching staff signed three defensive linemen, three linebackers and five defensive backs.
Highlighting the defensive group are two four-star linebackers, Marquis Ware and Jamardre Cobb. Ware and Cobb are ranked, respectively, the 125 and 188 recruits in the nation, according to the 2014 ESPN 300.
Despite having fewer defensive players sign than offensive players, Rodriguez spoke highly of his new defensive players and the impact they could have on the upcoming season.
“We’re better, we’re deeper and we’re faster,” Rodriguez said.
Apart from the players that signed, the lack of commitment from some recruits was also a topic of discussion.
Several high-profile recruits, such as cornerbacks Jalen Tabor and Naijiel Hale, either de-committed from Arizona or had their offers rescinded by the coaching staff over the past month or so.
“If a guy is committed and visiting somewhere else, he’s not committed, he’s just interested,” Rodriguez said. “There have been guys that have been committed to us that want to go visit somewhere else. Go ahead, you’re no longer committed to us.”
—Follow Roberto Payne @HouseOfPayne555