Noah Fifita is the lynchpin of Arizona’s 2022 recruiting class.
The first true freshman passer Jedd Fisch and his staff have earned a commitment from, Fifita is set to arrive on campus in January and will have a real opportunity to earn the starting QB job.
But his presence is about more than that.
Fifita’s commitment did not not necessarily lead to those of fellow Servite teammates Keyan Burnett and Jacob Manu, or the (for now) near commitment of Tetairoa McMillan. At the same time, Arizona landing a highly-regarded QB who happens to be teammates with and close friends of some other top players the Wildcats are pursuing certainly doesn’t hurt.
Neither does the active social media presence of Fifita’s mother, Winnona, who you may know as “SpamandEggs” or “@MrsFeef” on Twitter. She has become known for not only talking up her son, but doing what she can to praise the commitments of Noah’s future Arizona teammates while also working to convince McMillan that it is Tucson, not Eugene, where he should play in college.
Winnona has been quite the recruiter, even if she isn’t fond of being known as one.
“You know, I hate you call it ‘recruiting’ because I feel like I’m just being that creeper aunt or creeper mom that Noah is so embarrassed of,” she told Wildcat Radio 2.0. “And I feel like I can get away with a lot of stuff because I’m a mom, I don’t have to follow whatever NCAA rules they have.”
Mrs. Fifita said the whole schtick started while trying to playfully “piss off” McMillan’s mother Shawny, and it really started with a play off a photo Arizona produced featuring QB Fifita, TE Burnett and WR McMillan.
You know, this tweet here:
Hey AZ you guys work on @TMAC96795 and @keyan_burnett . I'll work on the Mama Bears #JuiceCountyBears https://t.co/P3y4hu9qZ1 pic.twitter.com/NwKfVYhHjn— spamandeggs (@mrsFeef) May 28, 2021
There was more:
Good morning @MsShawny24 @jeenaburnett ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/GFozFGPdOX— spamandeggs (@mrsFeef) June 28, 2021
In all, the last half a year or so has seen many tweets from @mrsFeef, some with photos, others with anecdotes about her son and even a handful with graphics, videos or some other true work of art.
Like, how could you not appreciate this:
Who did it better though? Let's find out together the next four years @MsShawny24 @TMAC96795 #NoahAndTmacForever #JuiceCountyWildcats ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/agenKT96VA— spamandeggs (@mrsFeef) July 9, 2021
Wildcat fans and coaches are likely big fans of her efforts, and we’ll know for sure how much she helped in the coming days as the early signing period approaches. She has regularly tweeted to and about McMillan, who many believe may still yet wind up in the Old Pueblo.
While the coaching staff’s pitch to the receiver likely centers around what he could accomplish on the field, Winnona said her lack of football knowledge forced her to take a different approach.
“For me, I’m like, ‘T-Mac let me play the best friend card because you guys are best friends,’” she said. “They’re the same exact person, so play it from that angle.”
Her non-recruitment-recruitment of McMillan even ramped up a bit after the player’s August 15 commitment to Oregon because, as Winnona said, “even after he committed to Oregon I was like ‘no, that’s not real.’
“It’s just weird. No. He’s not going there. I have so much faith that they’re going to get together. Honestly.”
Of course if McMillan does end up flipping to Arizona it will likely be due to other factors, but Winnona’s belief — and willingness to have a little fun on social media — probably didn’t hurt. In her mind Arizona is the ideal landing spot for the receiver.
Is she biased? Absolutely. But it’s as a mother and an aunt, not an Arizona “fan” or coach or really anything related to the field. She truly believes these players, these kids she deeply cares for would be best served playing for Fisch and the Wildcats.
Viewed through that lens, this is yet another positive sign for a coaching staff that appears to excel in the offseason but has its work cut out for it on the field.
It can’t be easy selling Arizona Football right now, not with just one victory over the last 24 games. While the program improved in 2021 and appears to be progressing, many of the players Arizona has earned commitments from could have instead chosen a program that at least recently has had more success.
They wouldn’t be hard to find.
Instead, Arizona is poised to land one of its best recruiting classes in some time. There are impact recruits on both sides of the ball as well as players who offer great potential and the ability to fill team needs. How did this happen?
The recruitment of Fifita may have provided some clues as.
Winnona recalled how with the hand-written letters, constant communication even after he committed, and their riding with Fifita as the freshman QB they are taking in this class.
Even still, she wasn’t totally sold on everything until her son Facetimed with Fisch, Brennan Carroll and Jimmy Dougherty to say he was going to be a Wildcat. She recalled how genuinely excited the coaches were, which as a mother who cares deeply for her son is something she appreciated.
“Noah’s not this prototypical QB,” she said. “He’s not very tall, and for them to have the kind of resume that they have professionally and in college football, I thought it was super sweet they saw past that eye test and just saw Noah for who he really was. For them to still show him that love after he was committed and then for their wives to embrace us during our visit, it was just a done deal.
“And now we just gotta get T-Mac on.”