The Arizona Wildcats had a whirlwind of recruiting news as 2015 ended. We started New Year's Eve with a commitment from 3-star linebacker Kapri Doucet and ended that day with a decommitment from 4-star pro-style quarterback Devon Modster. Doucet has also since decommitted given the news that Jeff Casteel was let go. Doucet was the only commit Casteel was the lead recruiter for, so there shouldn't be much more fallout from the change.
We're just under a month away from signing day, and Arizona will make a late push for a few other commits.
4-star pro-style quarterback Devon Moster decommits
I really liked his style, and felt that he could eventually compete for a starting job at Arizona, but at the same time, when thinking about the quarterback competition, I always thought that he was the most expendable of the group. This is super late for a recruit to be decommitting, especially when you consider the fact that he had been committed to Arizona since March, and has not received any offers or taken any visits since his senior season began.
I did get a chance to talk to him after his decommittment, but he didn't exactly say why he was leaving. But this just seems to be the best move for Modster, given the depth of Anu Solomon, Brandon Dawkins, Khalil Tate and 2017's 4-star quarterback, Braxton Burmeister. He's already picked up an offer from Syracuse, and he will still have about three weeks, and potentially three official visits, to make this a National Signing Day decision.
Just been offered by Syracuse University pic.twitter.com/KnhNnyy3tY— devon modster (@DModster) January 2, 2016
Khalil Tate implications from Modster's decommitment
Now some people are worrying that Khalil Tate will decommit, and leave Arizona with no scholarship quarterback for the second year in a row. But still, I'd be shocked if Tate left. He will be enrolling on January 10th, and joining the team for spring practice, officially ending all these rumors.
If Khalil Tate were to decommit in the next couple of days, then I get a feeling that Arizona will still be able to land a scholarship quarterback. Arizona has been in communication with Ben Holmes, a 3-star junior college quarterback out of Nassau College in New York. The 7th-ranked JUCO dual-threat quarterback has committed to Stony Brook University, but if Arizona comes knocking on his door, that would change some things.
Josh Allen recruitment update
A lot of requests have been coming up for Josh Allen information. While I haven't talked to him since early December, I'd still be shocked if he didn't end up in Tucson. It seems as if it's Arizona, Miami, and UCLA are his final three. He's seen quite a bit from UCLA and Arizona, so Miami comes in as the wild card here. There's also a chance he still might be able to enroll early, so we'll look forward to that January 10th date.
It should also be noted that Josh Allen dropped to a 3-star, but is still ranked the No. 3 defensive end in the nation, so take that for what it's worth.
Could Sean Riley potentially decommit?
The more I think about this situation, the more I don't like it. Sean Riley has been asked to grey shirt by the staff, and his high school coach seems to be pretty vocal about wanting Utah to jump back into his recruitment. Why the staff asked him to grey shirt, and delay his enrollment an entire semester, I'm not entirely sure, especially when there are multiple commits recovering from injuries.
If Utah comes back into the mix, I think Sean Riley is gone. It's unfortunate because I've been a big fan of talents, and his process and commitment is really what got this recruiting class started. His loss wouldn't be tremendous, considering the fact that there are four running backs in this class, but having that extra versatile flex guy under Rich Rodriguez is money.
Michael Eletise enjoys Under Armour All-America Game
For the first time since Jalen Tabor, we had an Arizona commit represented in the Under Armour All-America Game. Michael Eletise got some looks early in the game and helped his team to a 27-0 win.
Jacob Colacion firm on his commitment
Contrarty to what I tweeted out earlier today, saying that players commit to a coaching staff, not a school, Jacob Colacion said that he did not commit to a single coach. Although, London Iakopo did retweet my tweet, so take that for what it's worth.
"I committed to the school not to just one coach." - Arizona linebacker commit Jacob Colacion on today’s news with Arizona’s staff changes— Matt Moreno (@MattGOAZCATS) January 4, 2016
He is still firm on his commitment, which makes sense given his ACL injury this past fall.
Colacion added that he is disappointed he will not get to play for Jeff Casteel but remains firm in his pledge to UA— Matt Moreno (@MattGOAZCATS) January 4, 2016
If Jim Mora leaves does that open the door for Arizona to land any de-commits?
From the recruits that I've followed for Arizona, not too many have both Arizona and UCLA in their top schools. Defensive end Evan Weaver had UCLA and Arizona, but ultimately ended up committing to Arizona. That's about all I know as far as interests are concerned. This might just be too late for Arizona to get into the mix. Although it would make things interesting in Boss Tagaloa's recruitment.
Remaining targets for Arizona
4-star receiver Dez Fitzpatrick
He will be visiting Tucson on January 24th. This is probably Arizona's biggest priority as of now. I'm not putting much stock into this recruitment until he takes his visit. Huge advantages Arizona holds (you would think), are the weather and offense. Arizona is the only Pac-12 program amidst his top schools, which are all mostly Big Ten. This could be an interesting recruitment, but for now, I wouldn't get overly excited.
3-star corners Terrell Burgess & Lorenzo Burns
I feel pretty good about Arizona landing both. Terrell Burgess moreso than Burns, but Arizona does already have Isaiah Hayes in this class as well. Burgess is set to announce his commitment on the 29th of January. It's likely between Utah and Arizona here.
I haven't talked to Lorenzo Burns since this summer, so just a guess, but I would assume Arizona, California, and Nebraska are his top three, and I'll give Arizona the slight lead as of now. California has been loading up on defensive backs, but he seemed to really enjoy his unofficial to Nebraska this summer as well.
Things got interesting after the release of the defensive staff, as Terrell Burgess sent out this tweet.
So many things changing today!— #⃣BURGESS5⃣™ (@TiTaniumT98) January 4, 2016
3-star defensive linemen Trey Lealaimatafao & Travone Valentine
Not much has been said about these two, but these are two former 5-star recruits that committed to LSU. They're both at Arizona Western, and hold offers to Arizona, with not too many other options. I haven't been able to contact either of them. Maybe something comes out of them soon, but I wouldn't count on it, just something to log in the memory.
3-star linebacker Kaelin Himphill
I'm pretty confident that Arizona ends up with Himphill. Looking at the linebackers for 2016, there's a lot of depth, so that could be a concern.
But Arizona is currently his best offer, and he's a big fan of the 3-3-5, as that's what he ran in high school. He reached out to the staff at the beginning of the season, and now things are picking up. He'll be releasing his top five after the dead period, which will be January 13th. A guess at his top five would include Oregon State, Arizona, Utah State, SDSU, and Wyoming. Wyoming is just a complete guess.
Just business. Beyond blessed pic.twitter.com/K4CHHbQH6X— Kaelin (@K_linHimphill) December 31, 2015
2-star athlete Kevontre Whetzel
Arizona will be hosting a 2-star athlete in January. Kee Whetzel is a 6-3 receiver who would end up being Arizona's tallest receiver next to Trey Griffey. He has Indiana, Maryland, Louisville and South Florida in his final five alongside Arizona.
4-stars still in the mix, with an outside chance
Arizona is still in the works for a few top-notch guys, but again, I wouldn't think Arizona is the front runner in any of these recruitments. Among those are Calvin Bundage, Cayman's little brother, who is the No. 1 prospect in the state of Oklahoma. Byron Murphy is an interesting prospect, a 4-star corner out of Saguaro. ASU, Texas A&M and Washington are the leaders, but the door isn't 100% closed on Arizona, more like 90%.
There's also Boss Tagaloa, who no one actually knows if he's related to Freddie, but he's among the top defensive linemen in the nation. All signs have pointed to UCLA for the longest time, and there hasn't been much information out on his process.
Should we be concerned with Miller's lack of success in 2016 recruiting class?
This is a pretty good question. Looking back at all of the Arizona targets, not really. What makes this concerning is the fact that Arizona only has one commit so late in the game.
Miller had TJ Leaf, and we'll never know the real story with the whole Team USA debacle, and the Compton Magic Adidas sponsorship. Andrew Jones would have been a strong get, but coming from Texas, and proximity to home definitely took over for him there. Mitch Lightfoot was an interesting recruitment, but that was a bit of a reach for this program, and even Kansas seems too big for him.
Guys like Jayson Tatum, VJ King, Vance Jackson and Frank Jackson would have been hard to land, as those guys were all heavily enamored with the schools they committed to.
So really it comes down to Markelle Fultz and Justin Jackson, as the two headscratchers, where Miller couldn't seal it. I wouldn't think of it as alarming just because that's basketball recruiting. These are 18-year-old kids and we've seen some weird stuff from them before.
But I get a good feeling that Josh Jackson comes here, and that saves the entirety of the class. Although if that fails as well, then Miller will look to the graduate transfer market, and with this young Arizona team, that might not be a bad idea.