The news of Josh Allen's decommittment shook up the 2016 recruiting class, and left the Arizona Wildcats without the one recruit you couldn't possibly afford to lose. Of course, there's 4-star OG Michael Eletise, Arizona's highest-ranked recruit, but we've all seen how bad the defense has been this year, and Josh Allen would have been a shoe-in to replace Reggie Gilbert.
This decommitment was only a matter of time, really. Alabama came into the mix a handful of weeks ago, and that's when things started to get iffy. He reaffirmed his commitment to Arizona, but said he would be exploring his options and taking trips to other schools, something heavily frowned upon by the coaching staff, as seen with Naijiel Hale in 2014.
Since then, Allen's been hearing from Texas, USC and Illinois, and has just recently been in talks with Tennessee and Oregon State. Of course, the defensive showing has been bad for Arizona, but when you think of Texas, Tennessee, and USC, those are far richer programs than Arizona that the Wildcats can't compete with. He just had to make the best decision for him.
Because of this decommitment, many seem to be worried that other recruits are ready to jump ship as well. As far as I can tell, and from talking to a decent amount of the commits this week, they are all firm on their commitment. They've already committed and taken the burden of recruiting off their back, something that has taken a toll on some. Also, decommiting in November is a risky move for most if they didn't have solid options to begin with, and those schools haven't filled up their positions, because it's pretty unlikely that a coach will recruit a kid without watching a game in person, or heavily following their senior season.
Now, let's get to the remaining targets on Arizona's board. The Wildcats currently have 17 commits, and the class is ranked 35th in the nation, dropping five spots since Josh Allen's decommitment.
Collin Riccitelli, 5-star kicker
Josh Allen's decommitment might give Arizona a very good chance at landing this special teams talent. He took an unofficial visit for the Washington State game and seemed to really enjoy it. He's talking to a handful of programs right now, but he will wait to see where there are scholarship openings for him.
Now with 17 commitments, and not a whole lot of prospects left on Arizona's board, I would think Riccitelli lands himself an offer by the end of the season.
Melquise Stovall, 4-star running back
He's a true athlete, and has expressed his interest in playing both ways at the next level. This is a reason he decommitted from USC, after they told him he would play exclusively at running back.
Notre Dame and Arizona are trending for him in the 247Sports Crystal Ball, so we'll see where that goes. I haven't had a chance to talk to Melquise myself, so there's not a whole lot to report for him.
Matthew Gutwald, 3-star offensive guard
Matthew Gutwald is a smart kid, which is why Notre Dame and Stanford seem to be among his top schools. He values education and early playing time in his school, and he can get one of those with Arizona, relative to the other schools.
Arizona has a few linemen prospects on the up and up in the system, with Alex Kosinski, Levi Walton and Layth Friekh, as well as Keenan Walker, Bryce Cain, and Michael Eletise, who will all be freshmen in 2016. This isn't a dire need, but Gutwald would definitely be a top prospect for Arizona to land on the offensive line. Given the success of Notre Dame and Stanford this season, I'd expect him to end up at either of those two schools.
AJ Hotckins, 3-star linebacker
Hotchkins is ranked among the best junior college linebackers in the nation, No. 3 among all junior college prospects, but hasn't been receiving nearly as much attention as he should have. He has picked up offers from Texas Tech, California and Colorado, and should be getting more attention soon.
This is a guy who reminds me so much of Scooby Wright on film, with a similar frame of 6-0 240lbs as well. I feel confident enough to say that AJ Hotchkins will be in an Arizona jersey next season. A much-needed boost for the linebacker group, especially if Scooby Wright III leaves.
Travonte Valentine, 3-star defensive tackle
With Josh Allen's decommitment, I like Arizona's chances at landing a defensive lineman to replace him. Valentine hails from Arizona Western as the No. 5 junior college DT, and seems to have interest. The 6-3 325lb defensive tackle only has one offer, and that comes from Arizona. Valentine would hands down be Arizona's largest defensive lineman on the roster. We'll see what Paul Magloire's connection to AWC can do for Arizona.
Trey Lealaimatafao, 3-star defensive tackle
Another Arizona Western product. This time it's Trey Lealaimatafoa, checking in at 6-0 300lbs. He holds offers to Arizona, Colorado and Hawaii, and hasn't received much attention this season. He was dismissed from LSU, which would raise some eyebrows, but I'm currently unsure as to how hard Arizona is actually recruiting him.
I get a feeling that Arizona will land at least one, but it's hard to tell which one at this point. But both would be a welcome addition, and have an immediate impact on the defense.
Terrell Burgess, 3-star corner
Fresh off his official visit to Utah, Terrell Burgess should be making his decision soon. When I talked to him after his official visit to Arizona last week, he said that Arizona was among his favorites, but wanted to take a look at some other schools.
It might be that Utah is Arizona's strongest competition for Burgess, but I have a pretty good feeling that Burgess will be headed to Arizona when all is said and done.
Lorenzo Burns, 3-star corner
Lorenzo Burns has been pretty quiet about his recruitment. He hasn't released a list of top schools, or his list of official visits. He told me he wanted to focus on his SAT and his senior season, and then worry about recruiting, with the hopes of committing sometime in December.
He has a list of top schools in mind, but will not release an official list until he takes at least two visits. He's been on campus before, and he's said that his visit for the fall scrimmage was crucial. He has a few other suitors involved, but I would say Arizona has a pretty decent shot at landing Burns.
Elijah Battle, 2-star corner
This summer, Elijah Battle had told me he was going to commit to Arizona after his visit. Well, his visit was in late July and he has yet to commit. He's picked up some offers from West Virginia, and that seems to be a school he is very interested in at the moment. While people might roll their eyes at the number of stars next to his name, wishing for Arizona to ditch the lower-ranked guys, any depth at corner should be welcomed, especially junior college depth.
At this point I'm not sure if Battle will end up at Arizona, but they're certainly still in the mix.