Arizona’s upset over the Oregon Ducks not only moved the Wildcats closer to bowl eligibility and within striking distance of a Pac-12 South championship, but it could make the program’s rebuild a little easier as well.
The UA had a countless number of high school players visiting for the game, and head coach Kevin Sumlin said a victory over a ranked team — and the fanfare that accompanies it — is a jolt for Arizona’s recruiting efforts.
“It doesn’t hurt, I’ll put it that way,” Sumlin said Monday at his weekly press conference. “We had some official visitors, we had some unofficial visitors, so it can only help. The energy, the exposure, the vision becomes a little bit easier when a young man is able to come in here and really get a feeling for what this program can be.”
Arizona, which typically brings in one of the lowest-ranked recruiting classes in the Pac-12, needs all the help it can get. It currently has 13 commits in its 2019 class, which is ranked 66th in the country, per 247Sports. That is good for eighth in the conference.
But more additions could be coming — and soon. Take four-star cornerback Bobby Wolfe, for example. The Texan decommitted from Texas A&M shortly after he was on hand to witness Arizona upset Oregon, the type of decision that makes you wonder what’s coming next.
And here are some other recruits who were on campus for the game, including 2020’s No. 1 quarterback, DJ Uiagalelei:
- 2019 4-star WR Jalen Curry (Houston, TX)
- 2019 JUCO OL Paiton Fears (Hutchinson, KS)
- 2019 3-star OL Jakai Clark (Loganville, GA)
- 2020 4-star S Jacobe Covington (Scottsdale, AZ)
- 2020 5-star QB DJ Uiagalelei (Bellflower, CA)
- 2020 3-star ATH Keith Savage (Bellflower, CA)
- 2020 3-star S Kourt Williams (Bellflower, CA)
- 2020 RB Tyus Poyer (Bellflower, CA)
- Penn State grad transfer LB Manny Bowen
It obviously remains to be seen if Arizona actually lands any of these recruits, but as Sumlin said, the fact they were in Arizona Stadium to see the Wildcats beat a Top-25 team will only help UA’s new coaching staff sell their vision of the program.
“I think that in any organization, whether it sports, business, whatever, it’s one thing to have a message ... but if people don’t believe it in, it really doesn’t matter,” Sumlin said. “Leadership is about vision, but it’s also about belief and trust.”