Commentary: Mid-summer Arizona football recruiting review

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Simon Asher | The Daily Wildcat Arizona head football coach Kevin Sumlin watches the UA football team warm up before a scrimmage in the spring football season on Saturday April 7, in Arizona Stadium in Tucson, Ariz.

As summer workouts and player-run-practices occupy Arizona Stadium, head coach Kevin Sumlin and his staff have been hitting the recruiting trail, trying to position themselves for future success. 

Since the end of spring practices, the Wildcats 2019 recruiting class has continued to rise in national rankings, aided by the recent commitment from four-star Texas quarterback Grant Gunnell.

On June 14 – just two days after Dallas cornerback Logan Wilson de-committed – homegrown offensive lineman Jordan Morgan pledged his allegiance to the Wildcats, increasing the team’s total number of commits back to four.

At the end of June, Arizona hosted a slew of prospective recruits and in return received verbal commitments from a trio of defensive standouts. 

Initiating the Wildcats recruiting haul over the weekend was another Lone Star state native, linebacker Derrion Clark. 

Fellow Texan, defensive tackle Kane Bradford, followed Clark’s commitment after an impressive official visit. Both players hail from Dallas. 

Arizona also received word from the West Coast that three-star outside linebacker Kwabena Watson was also affirming his desire to play in the desert. Watson is Sumlin’s first commit from California. 

The most noticeable difference between Sumlin’s recruiting tactics thus far versus former headman Rich Rodriguez is his willingness to go after the talent in Texas. It certainly helps that Sumlin spent the previous decade in the Lone Star state, building and developing relationships with players, coaches, and families of surrounding high schools, but the carry-over is nearly nonexistent unless Sumlin goes out of his way to maintain such relationships. With the halfway mark of summer quickly approaching, let’s take a closer look at what the Wildcats most recent verbal commits bring to the table: 

Jordan Morgan OL – 6’5, 270lbs / Marana HS (Marana, Arizona)

The first thing you notice about Morgan’s film is his athleticism while pass setting. He has quick feet, and does a good job of utilizing his hands and winning early in the down. He’ll need to add strength and develop a mean streak as a run blocker if he wants to blossom in Arizona’s offense, but all of the natural skills are there to work with. 

Derrion Clark LB – 6’0, 215lbs / South Oak Cliff HS (Dallas, Texas) 

On paper Clark appears a bit undersized, so it’s only natural to assume he’ll end up playing inside linebacker. However, his tape shows something else. Whether it is stacked outside, lined up with his hand in the dirt on the edge, or even inside the tackles in the trenches, Clark has demonstrated an ability to make plays from all three positions. He’s an aggressive tackler, with just enough lateral quickness and closing speed to make up for his lack of size and strength. 

Kane Bradford DT6’6 270lbs / Skyline HS (Dallas, Texas) 

Bradford doesn’t have a whole lot of film to evaluate, but what is available points to two things – size and speed. A monstrous figure in the middle, Bradford towers over most of his competition. Yet, he does a decent job of keeping his pad-level down and playing with proper leverage. Bradford flashes linebacker-esque speed when chasing after the quarterback, but he will need to add to his array of pass-rush moves.

Kwabena Watson OLB6’3 205lbs / Edison HS (Fresno, California) 

Watson seems to specialize in one area – getting after the quarterback. He has a long and lean frame which is suitable for success on the field. He boasts a solid collection of pass-rush moves, and does a good job of using his hands to defeat the opposition. However, he also has a tendency of getting off the ball late. Improving his upper and lower body strength, while quickening his initial burst off the ball, could propel Watson to early playing time. 


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