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AZ Desert Swarm spam folder: The latest batch of responses to our readers’ questions

arizona-wildcats-desert-swarm-spam-folder-questions-answers-football-mens-womens-basketball-2023 Sean Logan/The Republic

Last week we launched the AZ Desert Swarm Spam Folder, an attempt to answer the burning questions that our readers have. And you’ve got plenty.

Turns out, you had even more!

Here’s the latest crop of responses to your queries:

Who will be the third starting wide receiver next to Jacob Cowing and T-Mac?

Arizona had three wide receivers combine to take nearly 2,300 snaps last season, something almost unheard of in college football. All told, seven receivers logged snaps but the other four—two of whom have since transferred—combined to play only 108 snaps.

The most frequently used receiver, though, has moved on, as Dorian Singer left to play at USC for 2023 and left a starting spot open besides Cowing and Tetairoa McMillan. Who will fill that starting slot? The options are aplenty.

The Wildcats will have at least 14 receivers in preseason camp, more if they add a few more walk-ons. Eight are on scholarship, including several freshmen and Colorado transfer Montana Lemonious-Craig. MCG should have a leg up on the competition based on his experience with the Buffaloes, for whom he stated nine games last season, but he’s also showing up in the summer and still has to learn the scheme.

The same can’t be said for redshirt freshmen Kevin Green Jr. and AJ Jones, who technically made his debut before T-Mac but being on the field for the first offensive snap of 2023 at San Diego State, and true freshmen Jackson Holmen and Malachi Riley. That quartet, along with redshirt sophomore walk-on Jaden Clark, got a lot of run at that third receiver spot and all have a good shot to start.

If we had to guess, it would be Green, who at 5-foot-11 and 170 pounds is more of a slot guy and would fill the role that Cowing had a year ago before Arizona decided to move him more outside for this season. If Cowing ends up being better on the inside, Lemonious-Craig and his 6-2 frame will work just find on the outside.

With Bob Huggins resigning at West Virginia, in the wake of his DUI arrest, is Kerr Kriisa stuck there or can he transfer again?

While Kriisa is no longer with Arizona, he’s a Wildcat for life for the contributions he made the previous three seasons. And it’s very sad to see what’s going on in Morgantown, where he transferred this spring.

The NCAA transfer portal is technically closed to everyone that isn’t a graduate transfer, but there is a clause that allows student-athletes who are part of a team going through a coaching change to get an extra 30 days to re-enter the portal. That window would have begun Sunday, the day after Huggins announced he was stepping down after 16 seasons at his alma mater.

Would Kriisa leave, though? Probably not. As much as Huggins would a part of his decision to choose West Virginia over several other options, including Nebraska, the NIL opportunities in Morgantown probably played just as much a role. There will be other teams that hope he returns to the free market, but expect him to be in gold and blue this season.

Is there any reason to be worried that, after several big recruiting weekends, that Arizona football only has a few commitments to come from that?

Simple answer: Just you wait.

More drawn-out answer: Follow the Twitter accounts of Jedd Fisch, his assistants and other recruiting personnel in the Arizona program and it’s pretty clear the Wildcats have landed a boatload of commitments from the crop of official visitors they have hosted in June.

Officially, to this point, the UA has landed three June commitments: 3-star defensive California lineman Kaho Tuihalamaka, Texas edge rusher Eduwa Okundaye and California kicker/punter Michael Salgado-Medina. But all signs point to plenty of other pledges that just haven’t gone public for whatever reason, in many cases because they still have other official visits lined up this month and (as they should) are going to make the most of getting an all-expenses-paid trip to a college campus.

Don’t be surprised if several of those commits go public this week. In fact, a trio of 2024 recruits, teammates at Glendale Apollo High School in the Phoenix area whom Arizona has hosted this month, are all announcing together on Monday afternoon. The UA is among each prospect’s top two or three finalists, so the odds of at least one of them picking the Wildcats is pretty good.

What tournaments are the men’s and ladies’ basketball coaches going to to get info on future players and who are they seeing?

This question came in for our first week, but the response is so lengthy that we held if for this week—and I can only speak to the women’s side of the game.

The coaches have been busy. They just set out on the recruiting trail again this past weekend, although they didn’t publicize exactly where they were going. We do have an idea of the players they are interested in, though.

Several travel teams and players announced that Arizona had extended offers. Players closer to their commitment date have announced finalists, and the Wildcats have appeared on a couple of those. It’s important that they do, as signing day for the 2024 class is just five months away and head coach Adia Barnes has no known verbal commitments for next season.

As of June 5, only about 30 percent of the class of 2024 had made verbal commitments according to ESPN, but Barnes has had at least one commitment by this time in years past. Last year, Montaya Dew committed early, but Breya Cunningham and Jada Williams waited until closer to signing day. In past years, Arizona has also brought in a late commit in the spring. In the past two seasons, that late commitment came from a player who de-committed from another program. Before that, it usually came from an overseas prospect.

Recent offers include 2025 forward Brynn McGaughy, who announced her Arizona offer on May 24. A week prior to that, Premier Basketball Report’s Jason Key wrote, “Currently unranked, McGaughy is as hot as a name can get with the recent high level offers to match.”

Premier Basketball Report currently provides the rankings for ESPN HoopGurlz, and since that post by Key, McGaughy is no longer unranked. Her recruiting evaluation gives her a score of 96, making her a five-star recruit. HoopGurlz now has her ranked as the No. 15 prospect in the class of 2025.

The Wildcats are among the final seven for 6-foot-3 forward Vivian Iwuchukwu. Iwuchukwu is a four-star player out of Monteverde Academy in Florida. She is ranked No. 49 in the class of 2024 by ESPN HoopGurlz.

Justice Carlton, who is also from the 2024 class, has the Wildcats among her final five. The forward out of Seven Lakes High School in Texas is ranked sixth in the latest ESPN rankings.

Other players Arizona is after for the 2024 class include Alexandra “Lexi” Blue, Devin Coppinger, and Emely Rodriguez. Rodriguez is one of the other players listed in Key’s Twitter thread about the 10 players who had his phone buzzing in mid-May.

“Coaches are circling the stock riser as must see!!!” Key wrote. Barnes was one of those coaches.

Recruiting isn’t just about the staff leaving campus. Coppinger took an unofficial visit to the Tucson campus in late May.

For fans who care about the Wildcats keeping the best players in the state, the staff is pursuing Salpointe Catholic’s Taliyah Henderson and Valley Vista’s Destiny “Ky’she” Lunan in the 2025 class.

Outside the state, Arizona would like to see five-star 2025 prospect Emilee Skinner join the program. The guard out of Millville, Utah’s Ridgeline High School is ranked 21st in the class.

The Wildcats have a longstanding offer to the younger sister of Maya and Zeke Nnaji, Josie Nnaji. She and the other 2025 players can start taking official visits in January, although she has already taken an unofficial visit and has made numerous trips to McKale Center to watch her siblings play.

Arizona also has eyes on players from the 2026, 2027, and 2028 classes. Yes, 2028. As in players who just finished seventh grade.

In the class of 2026, Arizona is keeping track of Jhai Johnson of Oakland (CA) Tech and Amaya “Sunshine” Garcia of DeSoto (TX) High School. DeSoto produces regular Division I talent, but the Wildcats have had difficulty getting one to commit of late. However, former Wildcat LaBrittney Jones joined the staff prior to last season.

In the class of 2027, the Wildcats are watching Myella Chapman and Jezelle Banks. However, neither player has indicated that she holds an offer from Arizona. Chapman has offers from California and Tulsa. The Arizona women’s basketball official account follows her on Instagram. Barnes and the official account follow Banks, but she does not list an offer from Arizona, either.

Arizona also wants to see how 2028 prospect Mariah Brownlee develops. She has follows from assistant coaches Salvo Coppa and Bett Shelby as well as the program’s official IG account.

This is only a small slice of the players the Arizona women’s program has shown at least some interest in for the next five classes.

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