It's no secret that the Arizona Wildcats need help defensively. The talent level at some positions just isn't there, and in Monday's press conference, Rich Rodriguez expressed his concerns of defensive talent going forward, particularly in the defensive line and linebacker corps.
"If you're a great junior college pass rusher. or mike linebacker, or will linebacker out there, and you've got good grades, and you're a good guy, give Arizona Coach Rod a call, because we're still looking"
Arizona has guys at those positions, but they just don't seem to be ready yet.
Arizona will be losing Reggie Gilbert and Jeff Worthy on the defensive line, leaving Rodriguez with Luca Bruno, Sani Fuimaono, and Parker Zellers. Sharif Williams probably needed another year to get prepared, and you would expect that Marcus Griffin gets thrown into the mix as well. Arizona also brings in four defensive linemen in the 2016 recruiting class, but all will be incoming freshmen, who likely won't see the field. That's where the decommittment of Josh Allen really hurts Arizona, the No. 1 ranked JUCO defensive end.
At linebacker, it seems as if Arizona will be without Scooby Wright, but they'll bring back a healthy Cody Ippolito, Derrick Turituri, as well as DeAndre' Miller and Jake Matthews. Those guys are fine, but that group could definitely use some help. Kendal Franklin will be a name to watch out for as well depending on his progression.
But lately, Rich Rodriguez has been accepting of junior college guys. Tellas Jones, Paul Magloire, Antonio Smothers, Anthony Fotu, and even Timmy Hamilton -- who left the team just a few days into fall camp --, are all Junior College transfers. Arizona will be bringing in Josh Allen's teammate at Long Beach City College, London Iakopo, in the 2016 recruiting class well.
A guy Magloire is familiar with, Arizona Western DE/OLB Jonathan Kongbo, will be visiting Tucson for the Utah game this Saturday.
Excited to go see Arizona vs Utah this weekend ! #Beardown— Jonathan Kongbo III (@King_Kongbo) November 11, 2015
"I think, for us in particular, it's a little harder to get some of the guys in [junior college] because some of the credits won't transfer because you have to have the equivalent major or credits to accept those classes. We've gotten a couple, and a few we wanted to have, but it just didn't match up academically in that respect."
Junior college products give the team a guy who understands the college schedule, has experience, and can come in to play immediately. But Rich Rodriguez doesn't just want any junior college guy, he has to be fit in multiple aspects.
"I think when you go the JC route, and we've got a few, probably need a few more, it's gotta be the right fit both athletically and academically and it's gotta be a guy that can come in and make an impact at a position you're thin at. You could project that we're thin in a couple of places, particularly defensively."
And then, Rich Rodriguez ended the discussion with the quote mentioned above.
"If you're a great junior college pass rusher. or mike linebacker, or will linebacker out there, and you've got good grades, and you're a good guy, give Arizona coach Rod a call, because we're still looking"
You could interpret this a few ways, or maybe that's just me over thinking things. One, if Rich Rodriguez was already on his way out, would he really be publicly recruiting like this? Two, he mentioned mike linebacker, and that would presumably be Scooby Wright. If Scooby Wright were to be staying, you wouldn't necessarily need a junior college guy to come in for next season.
Again, maybe that's looking into it a little too much, but you never know.