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AZ Desert Swarm mailbag: Post-Early Signing Period edition

You have questions, we’ve got (some) answers

arizona-wildcats-football-recruiting-early-signing-period-mailbag-jedd-fisch-2022 Photo via @UArizonaPix on Twitter

College football's early signing period has now passed and Jedd Fisch has himself a VERY nice class after signing 22 total players, including the highest-rated recruit in program history in 4-star wide receiver Tetairoa McMillan.

Naturally, a ton of questions and other comments come up from readers and there are a number that don’t get answered right away. Main reason being that we here at AZ Desert Swarm get very busy.

This year, I figured I’d do a mailbag to make sure they are answered.

Let’s get started.


CatFam: (With T-Mac’s commitment), where does this put us in the rankings and where do you anticipate we will end up when the February signing period is done?

Brandon: We use 247Sports here at AZDS, and currently, Arizona is sitting at 24th nationally and 2nd in the Pac-12. That’s pretty damn good. Once February is done, I anticipate Arizona to still be in the Top 30 at best and Top 35 at worst.

GreatOden’sRaven: Brandon, shouldn’t (Noah) Fifita be listed as a 5-star? Because he is in my heart.

Brandon: Serious note, Fifita would honestly be rated a 4-star quarterback if he was taller. Now mind you, I really don’t think that’ll be a problem for him. He is that talented. I mean, he was the two-time Offensive MVP for the toughest league in the nation. As for in your heart....absolutely. He has that “it” factor and really is arguably the most important prospect of the class.

LBC Cat & Tee Shot: How many of those that signed will be enrolled in the (spring) semester?

Brandon: This class was impressive in more ways than one. Not just with getting the highest-rated recruit ever, but the fact that Arizona didn’t lose anyone once the ESP started (Kyron Chambers doesn’t count) and they have the most signees I’ve ever seen enrolling early. Below is the list:

  • Keyan Burnett
  • Jai-Ayviauynn Celestine
  • Jonah Coleman
  • Noah Fifita
  • Kevin Green Jr.
  • A.J. Jones
  • Tetairoa McMillan
  • Ephesians Prysock
  • Jacob Reece
  • Jonah Savaiinaea
  • Grayson Stovall
  • D.J. Warnell
  • Jermaine Wiggins Jr.

Ian.J.13: Am I exaggerating by saying Noah Fifita is the single-most important player in recent Arizona history? I say this thinking his ability is top notch as us but if you include his recruiting prowess than he is absolutely critical. He is the single biggest reason for optimism after only one win out of too many games. I may be getting ahead of myself but I have never been this excited about Arizona football’s future.

Brandon: I really don’t think it’s that big of an exaggeration, if it is one at all. Classes are built around the quarterback and Fifita was a legit leader in the class. He talked to other commits and recruited prospects to join him. And it’s not just his recruiting ability. Fifita is legitimately talented. He has an incredible brain and has a big arm. Both things will get him on the field sooner than later.

Ricky Wildcat & Lazeecat: So we’ve kicked around a few names that we think can contribute in the next season, but who do you or the coaches see as really viable components for the 2022 opener?

Brandon: I will go broader here and discuss newcomers that will contribute throughout the season. There is no world where I don’t think T-Mac or Burnett don’t see the field. They are too talented. I believe that Prysock, Sterling Lane, Green, Jones, and Tyler Martin all see time as well. Celestine could carve out a nice role as a special teams returner to start his career. I legitimately believe Fifita will perform too well to keep him off the field.

Ricky Wildcat: With the schedule out now, what’s your way to early over/under and do you want to share who those win(s) are against?

Brandon: To be honest, I’ve been so busy with recruiting I haven’t really been able to sit down and dissect/analyze the schedule so I don’t quite have an over/under yet. That’ll be something that I probably won’t focus on too much until Spring rolls around.

CatInDC: Maybe too early but that nonconference schedule including the FCS opponent looks really really rough and it’d be hard for me to to imagine starting better than 1-2 at best and likely 0-3. Even if the team is better next year they need some time to gel. Any insight or commentary around that would be appreciated. Thanks for the hard and GREAT work Brandon!

Brandon: Ok, this is the second question in a row about this topic so I will take a look at the non-con. Now it’s incredibly early, but I’ll go ahead and say that the Mississippi State game will be a loss. I don’t think it’ll be by that much though. I do believe Arizona can, and will, beat San Diego State and North Dakota State. Both are tough but I don’t think NDSU can come into Tucson and win just like that. I really believe people are overplaying the whole NAU loss, kind of like they are overplaying the “Arizona-doesn’t-use-TEs” schtick. SDSU will be a different game than this season.

Marcelo: This seems like a lot of signees, what does the scholarship situation look like and is there room for transfers? Lots of them out there, I was hoping we would land some.

Brandon: Arizona should be fine with their schollie count and they will have room for transfers. Right now I believe the class will be around 30-31, to include transfers, when all is said and done.

BHawk13: How about a list of the uncommited players we may be hoping (even if there is little chance) to sign?

Brandon: I won’t list anyone because it will kind of give things away. What I will say is one player to keep an eye on has been named multiple times in the comment section in other articles.