After the Arizona Wildcats officially announced 25 players in their 2014 recruiting class, Rich Rodriguez took some time to talk about the incoming guys, and what impact they may have on the team moving forward.
"We're so much faster today than we were yesterday," Rodriguez stated. "I think we met a lot of our needs and some of our wants."
One of those extremely fast guys is Salpointe athlete Cameron Denson.
"Really excited about Cam," Rodriguez said. "He was probably the lowest-maintenance, high-profile guy I've ever recruited."
"He wasn't needing attention all the time, he just went and played ball. He's been a real joy to recruit."
On what Denson will play, Rodriguez laid out that plan as well.
"He'll play offense at first at receiver. He'll return kicks, and there's probably a chance he'll play some third down SWAT team defense."
RichRod started joking around about social media, and how he used to use Facebook as a recruiting tool.
Well, times have changed, and coach is ready to change too, as he promised to start using Twitter more.
And it's already happening!
As promised Now tweeting great day for Arizona football. #cant promise this will last— Rich Rodriguez (@CoachRodAZ) February 5, 2014
We tell our signees- this is just the beginning of their OKG days!!#backtobacktweets— Rich Rodriguez (@CoachRodAZ) February 5, 2014
"Now us adults go on Facebook so the kids are one step ahead of us and they go to Twitter. So if you want to chase guys down on social media you have to go to Twitter. I checked the other day and my last tweet was in like October 2012. So I may have to rejoin the Twitter world, get into Greg Byrne's world, and be a tweeting machine. I'm gonna be a tweeting machine."
Looking forward to talking to some Wildcat fans tonight at signing day party at stadium!!!#tweetingmachine— Rich Rodriguez (@CoachRodAZ) February 6, 2014
This was the last one before today....August 28th, 2012.
So get ready for RichRod to bombard your twitter timelines.
This OKG (our kind of guy) method that Rodriguez and his coaching staff uses appears to have made this signing day a lot less stressful than most, just by the simple fact of having guys that are totally committed to coming to Arizona instead of wavering at all.
While he did not mention Naijiel Hale by name, it was clear that Rodriguez was speaking about why Arizona decided to cut ties with the defensive back before this day got here.
"If they truly commit for us, if a guy's committed and visits somewhere else, he's not committed, he's dating. And we want him to be married."
"There have been guys that have been committed to us and wanted to go visit somewhere else, so we just say go ahead and you're no longer committed to us anymore. It's our scholarship we hand out, not theirs. It's not like lottery tickets that we just hand out."
"If it was Herschel Walker, and he said 'coach I'm committed but I still want to visit, would you still be interested?' Yeah, I will be Herschel," Rodriguez joked. "But if it's Sally Walker, go ahead Sally, make that trip, your scholarship may not be there when you get back."
"We'll ask 'Have you visited anywhere else?'. We're confident enough you can compare us with anywhere, so what's the reason you're going to visit even though you're committed?"
When a player has told the coaching staff they're committed to Arizona, Rodriguez sees no reason why they should go visit anywhere else, and I agree. Commit to a school or keep visiting until you decide where you want to play your college ball.
Jamardre Cobb and Marquis Ware
Cobb and Ware are both from Salesian HS in California, and the coaching staff is hoping they can fill in some of the voids left at linebacker.
Rodriguez certainly thinks they'll be capable of doing that right away.
"When you see them on film you're like 'Wow!'. Cobb and Ware won't just hit you, they'll blow you up. They know how to tackle. They love football so much and are hungry and weren't about all the other stuff at all."
"Those kids took their program to another level at Salesian, and all of them will probably have great careers here."
The possibility of these two playing fullback or tailback was also brought up, but that is something way down the road.
Griffin was the one non-commit that signed today, but it sounded like RichRod was fully expecting it to happen.
"He was the only guy on the official visit, so he got a lot of attention. Plays for a great high school program at Bellevue, and we needed more D-linemen."
"Even though he committed to someone else six or seven months ago, he always kept in contact and things really started to heat up on him about a month ago."
Coach had a good story about Dawkins when he came to a football camp this past year.
"Some quarterbacks don't like to work out in person, but most of 'em don't mind."
"If we can, we get them to come to camp. Over half the kids we sign we see and evaluate in camp."
"So he come to our camp and not only did he work out but we told him we wanted to have him run a 40 to see how fast he was. Most guys would take about half an hour to stretch, but he just threw his sweats off, touched his toes and then ran a 40, and ran a good time. So he was like 'Coach I'm ready, let's start throwing.' And so it was like right out of the car, take your sweats off and start working out."
"That was appealing to us, and he obviously threw well. His future's way out in front of him."
Adding to the speed idea from earlier, the return game could all of the sudden go from the weakest point of Arizona's game to the strongest. Denson and Kwesi Mashack were two of the players brought up, but Rodriguez did say every skill player Arizona signed today is capable of helping on special teams, along with DaVonte' Neal and other transfers. Mashack had "five or six" returns for touchdowns last season at Vista Murrieta HS in Corona, CA.
"Our return pool went from a weakness on the team to this fall being the strength in my opinion."
Next year, the cornerbacks will be bigger and stronger than Arizona fans saw this year, and that was a goal of this recruiting class as well.
"We got a little more size. As you guys saw in the Super Bowl, when you got big, athletic corners, and we're not there yet, but we've got some guys who can bang people around a little bit."
Here's a list of the 25 guys who sent in their NLIs to Arizona today:
Devon Brewer, CB - Fresno, CA
Rodney Carr, DB - Los Angeles, CA
Darrell Cloy, TE - Pico Rivera, CA
Jamardre Cobb, LB - Harbor City, CA
Jerod Cody, DL - Glendale CC
Brandon Dawkins, QB - Oxnard, CA
Cam Denson, WR - Tucson, AZ
Tony Ellison, WR - Granite Bay, CA
Layth Friekh, OL - Glendale, AZ
Patrick Glover, CB - Scottsdale CC
Marcus Griffin, DL - Bellevue, WA
Jonathan Haden, RB - Upper Marlboro, MD
T.J. Johnson, WR - Cape Coral, FL
Kaige Lawrence, OL - Chaffey College
Kwesi Mashack, CB - Corona, CA
Jordan Polan, OL - Rancho Santa Fe, CA
Jerrard Randall, QB - Northeast Mississippi CC/LSU
Antonio Smothers, LB - Scottsdale CC
Freddie Tagaloa, OL - Cal
Levi Walton, OL - North Fort Myers, FL
Marquis Ware, LB - Bellflower, CA
Jace Whittaker, DB - Oceanside, CA
Nick Wilson, RB - Fresno, CA
Trevor Wood, TE - Scottsdale, AZ
Jeff Worthy, DL - Santa Ana College/Boise State
- Jamardre Cobb, Marquis Ware could make instant impact
- Arizona football uniforms lose numeral gradient on home jerseys
- Cameron Denson brings versatility to both sides of ball
- Marcus Griffin commits to Wildcats
- QB Brandon Dawkins defines 2014 class