We're wrapping up the 2016 recruiting class, and in a few weeks, all the focus will turn to the 2017 class. The Arizona Wildcats already have one commit for the 2017 class, with 4-star quarterback Braxton Burmeister pledging to Rich Rodriguez last spring.
Last spring, Arizona had a large group of visitors on campus, led by Keyshawn Johnson's 7-on-7 team, Team 19. During that visit, Arizona landed the commitment of 2016 3-star running back Sean Riley.
Among that group, was 2017 3-star corner Jalen Cole, out of football powerhouse Mater Dei High School (Santa Ana, CA). The 5-9 165lb corner only has one offer, from Colorado State, but he's getting daily mail from not only Arizona, but schools across the Pac-12 as well.
Boston College, Colorado, Washington State, Washington, and UCLA are all on Cole's recruitment, and he'll be taking a few unofficial visits in the spring. "I wanna get up to Washington, go up to UCLA, and I wanna get back to Arizona," Cole said about potential visits.
"It's great out there," Cole said about Arizona. "The school is beautiful, the facilities are great and the coaches are really cool."
Matt Dudek is his lead recruiter right now, and has told Cole he should be offered by the evaluation period next year, which would fall between April 15th-May 31st.
"Early playing time is the biggest factor to me. I really wanna contribute as a freshman. Also a great environment," when asked about his decision factors. Lately, a lot of defensive back recruits have been telling me the 3-3-5 is great because with five guys in the secondary, it gives them more opportunity to play. "Yessir, the more defensive backs, the more likely chance I have to get on the field," Cole said about the 3-3-5.
As a junior, Cole finished second on the team with 60 tackles, and added two interceptions, six pass deflections and two fumble recoveries. Cole checks in at 5-9 165lbs, a bit on the smaller side, but to make up for that he prides himself in his physicality. Heading into his senior season, he'll be working on his reaction speed, footwork, and weight room gains. His junior year highlights are below.
Arizona does have a stockpile of young corners, but none have seemed to pan out yet. We're still waiting for Cam Denson to show his 5-star potential, but seems to be on the move to the offensive side of the ball in 2016. Jarvis McCall has been plagued by nagging injuries, and Dane Cruikshank redshirted.
Arizona did play three true freshmen in Devon Brewer, Sammy Morrison, and Jace Whittaker, with the latter two starting at one point. Arizona will also gain Antonio Parks this spring, who should be able to make an impact in his first year. As of now, Arizona seems in good standing to land 2016 3-star corners Lorenzo Burns and Terrell Burgess, who both should be announcing soon.
I really like watching Cole on film, and while Arizona might have a few corners in the works, Jalen Cole definitely seems like a strong fit for the defense, and will be able to see the field early.