When looking at the 2014 recruiting class, members of the Arizona football coaching staff has to remind themselves what they came into. Quarterback Brandon Dawkins might be the gem, if only because it's, frankly, quite imperative he develops as the only freshman member of his class at his position.
"He's a competitor. He has a big-time arm. What excited me more about him is his mental makeup." - UA QBs coach Rod Smith on Brandon Dawkins— Daniel Berk (@DSBerk) February 5, 2014
As nice as the B.J. Denker story was last season, the refusal by Rich Rodriguez to go away from a guy that was smart and tough more than anything else said a lot about what was on the table. Denker's knowledge of the system earned him the starting job, but talent was a hard thing to come by at quarterback.
Recruiting has a nice way of sorting itself out.
It doesn't lie, which is why Dawkins is so crucial for Rodriguez, even with junior college transfer Jerrard Randall joining him as a recruit in this year's class. Arizona has options next season, but creating legitimate competition is a big need.
That doesn't mean Dawkins is the only option. Connor Brewer transferred from Texas and was already getting his feet wet in the Arizona offense. Jesse Scroggins and redshirt freshman Anu Solomon are also in the conversation. But Dawkins acts as the youngest challenger in this quarterback question.
At 6'4, 200 pounds, the Oaks Christian quarterback is big, mobile and is learning how to meld a pro-style thought-process with his ability to manage when plays break down. He might be the best of Brewer, a more traditional quarterback, and Solomon, a player who was expected to challenge for the starting gig last year but never had his redshirt removed.
Dawkins defines the 2014 class as Rodriguez enters another season coming off a surprise year but with his own recruiting work needing to show more than ever.
Updated 2014 Arizona recruiting signee list
OL Levi Walton, Ida S. Baker High School
OL Kaige Lawrence, Chaffey College
LB Antonio Smother, Scottsdale Community College
CB Patrick Glover, Scottsdale Community College
WR T.J. Johnson, Milford Academy
OL Layth Friekh, Centennial High School
DT Jeff Worthy, Santa Ana/Boise State
OL Freddie Tagaloa, Cal
QB Jerrard Randall, NE Miss. Community College
RB Jonathan Haden, Friendship Collegiate Academy
DL Jerod Cody, Glendale Community College
CB Devon Brewer, Central High School (Fresno, Calif.)
TE Trevor Wood, Chaparral High School
OL Jordan Poland, La Jolla Country Day
WR Tony Ellison, Granite Bay High School
RB Nick Wilson, Central High School (Fresno, Calif.)
CB Kwesi Mashack, Vista Murrieta High School
TE Darrell Cloy, La Habra High School
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