clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Rich Rodriguez leads the in-state recruiting battle

Arizona trying to win the in-state recruiting battle

Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Over the last few years, surprisingly, Arizona has been winning the in-state recruiting battle. Arizona isn't known as a hotspot for some of the top players across the nation, but there is hidden talent spread throughout the state. To be fair, neither Arizona or Arizona State do a great job at keeping the top talent within the state, but as of now, Arizona has a slight edge.

Since Rich Rodriguez has come to town, Arizona has brought in a combined 19 of the top 50 Arizona products over last four classes. Meanwhile, Todd Graham has brought in 11 of the top 50 Arizona products in that same span. Among those 19 Arizona products are key contributors including Cody Ippolito, Jamar Allah, Anthony Lopez, Steven Gurrola, Jake Matthews, Nate Phillips and Cam Denson, with the latest being Kennan Walker, who was ranked No. 2 in Arizona and No. 140 overall for 2015.

Arizona State did land DJ Foster, the do-it-all workhorse on offense, who is one of the most versatile threats in the nation. Jaxon Hood, another in-state standout, left the team for personal issues and might be returning to the team in 2015. Some other top in-state gets for ASU include Kody Kohl, who finished fourth in receptions last year, and many have expectations of Chans Cox and Bryce Perkins beginning to contribute soon.

Now, Todd Graham also chooses to go after JUCO's and heavily recruits out of California. This has led to him having assembled a better recruiting class than Rich Rodriguez each of the last four years. He also holds a 2-1 edge over Rich Rodriguez in the battle for the Territorial Cup and has had slightly more success than Rodriguez over the last three years.

For now, Arizona has the slight edge on landing the talent in Arizona. It might be fair to say that Todd Graham is a better recruiter overall, given his success with some of the top products in the nation. But where Rich Rodriguez has the edge is when it comes to coaching guys up and getting the most out of his recruits.

With both Arizona and Arizona State winning the Pac-12 South now, it'll be interesting to see how the dynamics of recruiting change for both programs.