Arizona Wildcats head coach Kevin Sumlin was ranked as the No. 42 coach in college football by Athlon Sports.
“Sumlin wasn’t out of work for long when his tenure ended at Texas A&M following the 2017 regular season,” wrote Steven Lasson. “The Alabama native was scooped up by Arizona to replace Rich Rodriguez and inherits a team capable of winning the Pac-12 South in 2018. Sumlin played his college ball at Purdue and was an assistant at a couple of programs -- Wyoming, Minnesota, Purdue, Texas A&M and Oklahoma -- before landing his first head coaching job at Houston in 2008.
“Under Sumlin’s watch, the Cougars went 35-17 over four years. Houston’s offense ranked among the nation’s best during that span, which included a 12-1 season in 2011. Sumlin was hired at Texas A&M prior to 2012 and oversaw the transition to the SEC. The Aggies started fast under Sumlin, finishing 11-2 in 2012 and 9-4 in ‘13. However, the program went 8-5 in three consecutive years, followed by a 7-5 mark in the regular season in 2017. Sumlin is a good recruiter and has a style of play that should work well in the Pac-12.”
Sumlin was ranked 40th at the beginning of last season while at Texas A&M. Former UA coach Rich Rodriguez was ranked 38th.
Athlon ranked Sumlin seventh in the Pac-12. Washington head coach Chris Peterson topped the conference in the list and was also fourth overall in the FBS. Alabama’s Nick Saban was ranked No. 1. Herm Edwards, the first-year coach at Arizona State, ranks 104th.
Sumlin, the 2012 SEC Coach of the Year, has already generated a buzz around the Old Pueblo with his pedigree and, of course, having junior quarterback Khalil Tate manning the offense.
Tate was recently named by Sports Illustrated as the top QB in college football. Sumlin is no stranger to having a mobile QB, as he oversaw the success of Johnny Manziel at A&M, and that success has UA fans exultant.
While Sumlin has yet to coach a game at Arizona, his recruiting prowess has already some made headlines.
UA’s 2019 class is ranked 64th in the country, highlighted by Texas four-star quarterback Grant Gunnell. The ‘Cats received three commits this past weekend from linebackers Derrion Clark and Kwabena Watson and defensive lineman Kane Bradford. Clark and Bradford are from Dallas.
Sumlin has been making it a priority to recruit Texas, something rarely seen under Rodriguez. Watson is the first recruit from California to commit to the ‘Cats, and the seventh member of the class.
Sumlin’s recruiting has produced on-field success, but it’s also translated well into putting players in the NFL. Only six UA players have been drafted over the last six seasons, with none taken in the first three rounds.
Sumlin had six straight first round picks at Texas A&M, with a total of 21 picks overall, including three in this year’s draft.