After surveying 224 high-school recruits, the results show there isn’t a whole lot of interest in the Arizona Wildcats.
A study done by Pick Six Previews concluded that Arizona ranks 46th among 65 Power Five schools when it comes to the desire/interest to play for a given program.
Only Colorado ranked worse than Arizona in the Pac-12. Meanwhile, Oregon, USC, Stanford, UCLA and Washington ranked in the Top 23. Arizona did however beat out SEC programs like Arkansas and Missouri, and tied with Texas Tech.
Aside from one huge outlier in Alabama being ranked behind Auburn at 19, this seems to be fairly accurate, although I would also argue that California and Georgia Tech are higher than expected.
The top 25 seems like a solid group, one that is tough to crack, as most are your traditional powerhouse programs and brands. But there are a few who have quickly built their brand up entirely in the last 10 years or so.
Clemson, Louisville, TCU and dare I say Texas A&M, are the perfect examples of programs that have built their brand entirely through their recent success, when they’ve never really had an illustrious background.
And realistically, Kevin Sumlin has a chance to get Arizona into 26-33 range when compared to some of those other schools. Sumlin has the resources to start building the brand, too.
Sumlin built up a strong reputation at Texas A&M, which ranked 24th in this experiment. He brings a lot of juice to Arizona and has a lot of strong recruiters supporting him. It also helps that he has Khalil Tate as his quarterback.
In years past, Arizona just didn’t seem like a school that popped out to recruits, and Arizona-Arizona State probably gets more mixed up more than any other schools in the country. It also doesn’t help that U of A would be taken as Alabama.
Rich Rodriguez, judging off his record, did a solid job by Arizona standards. It was all of the other roster building issues he had that really held him back (injuries, dismissals, development, transfers).
But the recruiting pitch was always the same under Rodriguez — early playing time, a favorable scheme, good facilities and a family feel. But every program in the nation is offering that too and it helps the school with the better track record. Everyone has a nice facility these days, there are much better academic institutions than Arizona. The real selling point for Rich was year round weather and being the closest Pac-12 school to Arizona, that’s about it.
How Sumlin differentiates himself is yet to be known, but he does have more charisma and more than a few notches on his belt when it comes to NFL production.
The recruiting expectations have skyrocketed since Sumlin has been hired, but just consider this: Since 2003, the average Power Five school lands about four four-star recruits per class.
However, there are about 11 schools that haul in approximately half (150) of all the four-star recruits in the country.