On Saturday evening, we saw yet another decommitment for the Arizona Wildcats, with 3-star Markell Utsey. The 6-4 290lb defensive tackle had been committed since July. The odd part about it was that Coach Donté Williams just had an in-home visit with Utsey this week. But once Utsey's buddy decommitted from Boise State and flipped to Missouri, Utsey followed.
This left Arizona with 12 commits for the class, ranked 57th in the nation, 11th in the Pac-12. Maybe coach Donté Williams should have taken it easy on him while they played NBA 2K together during the in-home visit.
3-star safety Tristan Cooper commits to Arizona
Things got kicked off Sunday morning when Tristan Cooper, 3-star safety out of Texas pledged his commitment to Arizona after being on campus this weekend.
UofA? ✍ ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/6gL5V0dUtX— Tristan Cooper (@TCooper_8) January 24, 2016
He's a big hitting safety who could fall into the bandit position, along with fellow Arizona commit Gavin Robertson. Arizona is starting to pursue safeties heavily in this class with Jarrius Wallace and Chacho Ulloa still in play. For whatever reason, Gavin Robertson, to me, has a huge ceiling in the long run, but I see Cooper as a guy who could see the field fairly early in his career.
Commitments go both ways
Now, Arizona has seen quite a few decommitments this season: Josh Allen, Devon Modster, Jake Burton, Kapri Doucet, just to name a few. I believe that Josh Allen will commit to Arizona when all is said and done, despite all of the nonsense that has surrounded his recruitment. Devon Modster and Jake Burton both flipped to UCLA, both of which I have no problem for their reasons of wanting more opportunity and being at a better program. Kapri Doucet was simply because of the coaching changes.
But there are three decommitments that were ultimately caused by a change of plans amongst the coaching staff. From my understanding, when I talked to Jabari Watson, he said that Arizona kind of laid off his recruitment and talked about the opportunity of blue-shirting. By going the blue-shirt route, Watson would still arrive on campus this fall, but would have had to pay his way through college the first year and then officially go on scholarship in 2017
Tyliek Raynor and Arizona essentially parted ways once Arizona was offering a few other running backs, and now Raynor is seeking another opportunity in his recruitment. And then Sean Riley, the other running back decommit was asked to grey-shirt, which would have delayed his enrollment until the spring semester of 2017.
The heat always goes to the kid who decommits, but a lot of the times it's the coaching staff who starts to drift away and back off of a recruitment. It's a complete double standard where we want our recruits to stay loyal to our program, yet at the same time, the coaching staff can end the relationship with a kid who has been nothing but loyal to their program since their commitment.
A lot of these Arizona decommits were guys who had been committed for such a long time. Some of them do that because these kids have to reserve their spot before it's too late. The sad part is that they don't keep their commitment when a bigger and better school rolls around, but these are 17, 18-year-old kids after all. This is a tough process to go through, a life-changing process at that.
There are a few guys who I feel fairly good about committing to Arizona.
Like I said above, I think Josh Allen will end up back with Arizona. If that does in fact happen, his indecisiveness cost him an opportunity to enroll this spring at Arizona. That was his plan when originally committed and sat out this season at Long Beach. Once he decommitted, he shifted his recruitment back and will now join a program in the fall.
Arizona hosted Kaelin Himphill and with Oregon State out of the mix, for now, I think Arizona could have a pretty good shot going up against Utah for his services. He told me that his trip to Arizona is amazing and the Wildcats stack up towards the top. He will decide between Colorado, California, West Virginia and Utah for his final visit in the coming days.
The staff can also add two corners with Terrell Burgess and Lorenzo Burns. I feel much more confident about Burns than I do Burgess. Burns is essentially down to Arizona, California, and Colorado, and like I've said before, Colorado is a major step down for him and California is loaded at corner for this class. I've never had a strong indication on Burgess' direction, but SDSU and Utah are very well in play.
Jessie Britt decommitted from Western Kentucky while on his official visit to Arizona but has yet to commit. The timing of his decomittment was way too coincidental for him to not come to Arizona.
Francisco Nelson is a guy who I could see flipping from FAU to Arizona. He was ecstatic when he found out that Arizona was offering him. He'll be heading out to campus on the weekend of the 30th.
Clifford Chattman would have been a huge get for Arizona, and was someone I thought Arizona had a pretty good shot at landing prior to today. It seems as if the staff was giving him a high priority and the same treatment they gave Michael Eletise throughout his recruitment process. Unfortunately, while on his visit to Florida State, he verbally committed to the Seminoles.
Keep an eye on
There are a few guys that are fairly intriguing that remain on Arizona's board.
Former Stanford commit and 4-star safety Chacho Ulloa seems to have it down to Oregon and Arizona. I have yet to talk to him and will be reaching out to him later this week. Another prospect is Kee Whetzel, with his top three being Arizona, Colorado, and UCF. He just came off his visit from UCF and I think that the proximity to home for the 6-3 3-star receiver is going to play a huge role.
2-star safety Jarrius Wallace had Arizona and Colorado in his final two. He was just in Tucson for his official visit. I'd say for now Colorado is the leader, but crazier things have happened. 3-star linebacker Troy Cassidy is super intriguing because he kind of appeared out of nowhere unless I missed something this entire time. The San Diego product seems to be favoring the Aztecs, but Arizona could make a run, especially if Himphill falls through.
4-star receiver Dez Fitzpatrick put Arizona in his final list of schools but I'm not sure what his schedule is like next weekend, the final weekend to take an official visit before signing day.
Another defensive back with Mike Daniels seem to be in play as well as TaDarryl Marshall, 3-star athlete out of Alabama who was on campus last weekend. I'll have more on these three soon.
We could also lose out on
These two guys are still committed, but still to this day, I'm not sure if we can count on London Iakopo or Devaughn Cooper keeping their commitments with Arizona. Of course, you could say that about any kid in any recruiting class, but these two in particular have been seeking other options, or so it seems.