Rich Rodriguez was unable to add four star athlete Devin Fuller to the new head coach's first signing class at Arizona. Recruited as a quarterback for UA's spread option, Fuller committed to Pac-12 rival UCLA, where he could play in the secondary.
Fuller's change of direction presents opportunities for either of the quarterbacks who are signed to UA, Javelle Allen and Josh Kern.
Recent history proves Rodriguez won't shy from giving young quarterbacks opportunities. Pat White began his West Virginia career in 2005, the first of four seasons (three of which were under Rodriguez) as the starter. The head coach also used Tate Forcier and Denard Robinson in nearly equal doses through the 2009 campaign -- their true freshmen season.
Senior Matt Scott will need someone to spell him, particularly in a spread option that relies heavily on the quarterback, and results in a lot of tackles. One of these freshmen will likely be the player to do it.
Both are products of the Texas pipeline UA successfully mined for talent. The similarities end there, though.
Allen committed to the Rodriguez staff earlier this month, following an outstanding senior campaign at Prosper High School that defined what it means to be a dual threat quarterback. The 6-foot-1, 210-pound Allen accounted for 52 touchdowns to lead the 9-3 Eagles. I'll type that again for emphasis: 52 touchdowns.
He threw 30 scoring passes with just five interceptions, and surpassed 2300 yards through the air. Allen was also Prosper's leading rusher, going for 1539 yards and 22 touchdowns. He's a three star recruit according to Rivals.com, but was flying below the national radar when the UA staff came calling. Utah State, New Mexico State, Louisiana-Monroe, Florida Atlantic and the Naval Academy were potential suitors: all programs with an offense reliant on a running quarterback (albeit to varying degrees), but none members of BCS conferences.
Kern was on the Big 12 recruiting radar for his Pro Style ability, but committed to the Mike Stoops-led coaching staff last spring. The San Antonio product was a prototype for the offensive system introduced by Sonny Dykes and continued under Robert Anae: tall, strong-armed, suited to the multiple wide receiver and singleback sets.
Recruiting guru Tom Lemming ranked Kern the nation's No. 22 Pro Style quarterback in the 2012 class, and assessed him as
a tall gunslinger who can throw the deep out with authority, stands tall in the pocket, and shows a quick release.
Such quarterbacks have rarely been employed in Rodriguez's system, Brad Lewis being the notable exception from Rodriguez's initial season at West Virginia. However, Kern paid UA and the new staff a visit earlier this month, reaffirming his commitment to the program per GoAZCats.com.
These two wholly different quarterbacks will have a common goal come fall. The departures of Nick Foles, Daxx Garman and Tom Savage guarantees at least one newcomer will get a shot to see field time behind Scott, and that player will have a leg up on the starting role for the 2013 campaign.