The Arizona Wildcats coaching staff has sent out a flurry of offers this past week. While the offerings keep coming out, we've seen a few long-time commits decide to part ways. The recruiting class currently holds 15 players.
There's a whole lot of stuff going down in this recruiting roundup, loaded with new offers, decommitments and commitment updates. This is probably the longest recruiting piece I've ever written on this site, so get ready.
Tyliek Raynor decommits from Arizona
Arizona has now seen three decommitments since New Year's Eve, with 3-star running back Tyliek Raynor decommiting. Considering the fact that Arizona has offered two running backs this week, my guess is that the staff told Raynor that they were actively pursuing other guys, and it would be in his best interest to move on. Unfortunate if true, but that's the nature of college recruiting.
Arizona offers multiple running backs for 2016
On January 4th and 5th, Arizona offered two new running backs, both committed to other schools. The first offer went to Artavis Pierce, 3-star running back out of Auburndale Senior (Auburndale, FL). He's ranked 98th in the nation among all running backs and has been committed to Oregon State since late May.
You can find his junior year highlights here.
The other running back also hails from Auburndale Senior. Jessie Britt, a 2-star running back ranked 163rd at his position, has been committed to Western Kentucky since late July.
You can find his senior year highlights here.
The fact that these two were offered just a few days before the de-commitment of Tyliek Raynor likely means that the coaching staff told Raynor they were pursuing other guys at his position and that it was best for him to move on. With that being said, it seems likely that Arizona would be close to getting these guys on campus for a visit and landing at least one, maybe even both.
DeVaughn Cooper and Sean Riley receive offers from Syracuse
Narbonne teammates and Arizona commits DeVaughn Cooper and Sean Riley both received offers from Syracuse. I'm pretty confident that Cooper is still firm on his commitment. As for Sean Riley, I think it's only a matter of time before he jumps ship for a program that will allow him to join this fall. He had apparently been asked by the Arizona staff to gray shirt a few weeks ago.
2016 3* WR Sean Riley (CA), teammates of DeVaughn Cooper, was offered by Syracuse and has set an OV for 1/16.https://t.co/nDhjcrDKKR— Scott Brown (@RivalsSyracuse) January 7, 2016
He'll be heading out to Syracuse for an official visit later this month. While Syracuse has been a mediocre program, in a cold city very far away from home for Riley, the Orange seem like a real threat in his recruitment.
Jacob Colacion receives offer from Hawaii
Still firm on his commitment to Arizona, Colacion received an offer from Hawaii
Blessings on blessings! Just got offered a scholarship from Hawaii! pic.twitter.com/AdypNE2PJw— J (@JakeColacion) January 7, 2016
Emmanuel Beal receives offer from Arizona
I spoke with Emmanuel Beal and he says that he will plan a visit to Tucson in the following weeks. He was very relieved after receiving his offer, as this is an offer he had been waiting on for quite some time. He's a big-time pass rusher and says that Arizona is currently his top school. I got a chance to interview him after he received his offer.
Arizona offers Bruce Judson, 2017 4-star athlete
Arizona got a jump start, sort of, on one of the most coveted recruits of 2017. Bruce Judson is the 14th-ranked athlete in the nation and 146th player overall. He was previously committed to Ohio State from January 2015 up until October. Since then, he's collected offers from top programs across the country including: Florida, Miami, Georgia, Auburn, and Alabama.
This is a recruit I think we can get excited about, and one that Arizona is a very, very serious contender for. I got a chance to talk to Bruce after he received his offer and will have a piece coming out with my interview with him soon. He does not have his junior year highlights up. Here are his sophomore year highlights.
Arizona offers Popo Aumavae, 2017 3-star offensive tackle
Looking ahead to 2017, Arizona offered a huge offensive tackle who is bound to climb the recruiting rankings. He also holds offers to Oregon, Washington, UCLA and Utah, among others.
Here are his junior year highlights.
Arizona offers Kyzir White, 4-star junior college safety
Arizona offered another Lackawanna College product, this time, it's 4-star safety Kyzir White, who has been committed to West Virginia since June. The 6-3, 210 lb. safety is ranked 1st among all JUCO safeties in the nation, and 14th overall. Despite his commitment to West Virginia, he will be taking a visit to Louisville on January 16th and Penn State on January 23rd, leaving him one open weekend for an official visit to Arizona before signing day, should he pursue all his options.
You can find his highlights here
Arizona offers Clifford Chattman, 3-star safety
Another safety on Arizona's recruiting board, Chattman hails from McDonogh 35 (New Orleans, LA). Checking in at 6-4 175lbs, he holds offers to Arizona State, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Miami and Texas A&M. He's ranked 46th among all athletes in the nation. We'll see where his recruitment goes, but for now, A&M seems to be the leader.
You can find his senior year highlights here.
Arizona offers Jerrius Wallace, 2-star safety
Once committed to UCF, the 6-0 185 lb.safety out of John Ehret (Marrero, LA) just recently opened up his recruitment.
He seems pretty excited about the offer and this seems pretty promising for a visit in the next few weeks. He currently has offers to Austin Peay, Nicholls State, McNeese State and Northwestern. When you throw Arizona in the mix and some of the strong recruiting the staff has done in the south, this could end well. Don't worry about the stars by his name and offer list. The staff is typically one of the first power five teams to offer a kid these days.
His junior year highlights are here.
5-star kicker Collin Riccitelli recruiting update
I was able to speak to him and got some pretty good insight on his recruitment. As of now, he says that Arizona is very active in his recruitment and want him as a preferred walk-on, but it doesn't seem as if they will offer him. While Arizona is one of his top schools, he will look for a scholarship option first before looking for a PWO spot.
And it seems as if he's going to have some options as a scholarship kicker. He says that he has been talking to Alabama for some time now and he feels as if they're close to offering. He also has offers to Army and Navy. However, he did note that Stanford and Arizona were among his top choices as a preferred walk-on.
While the decommitments open up scholarships, it seems like Arizona has some plans to offer scholarships to more athletes in this recruiting class. This is somewhat puzzling, simply because when Michael Lev of the Daily Star talked to Rich Rodriguez, the head coach had this to say about the special teams unit.
RR said he'll look inside and outside the current roster for kicker/punter/kickoff guy. Termed those jobs "wide open."— Michael Lev (@MichaelJLev) January 6, 2016
London Iakopo recruiting thoughts
Given the recent coaching staff changes on the defensive side of the ball, to go along with the two new safety offers, I'm not sure how comfortable I feel about Iakopo's commitment. He'll be taking his visit to Louisville later this month, and that might be a real option now. Just don't be surprised if he were to flip his commitment sometime before signing day.
Josh JJ Allen recruiting thoughts
With the recent firings on the defensive side of the ball, I think JJ is starting to reconsider his options. After speaking with him, I had said that I was 100% confident that he would commit to Arizona when all is said and done. The way things are going now with the coaching changes, I would be fairly surprised if he ended up at Arizona. My guess for now is UCLA.
Terrell Burgess recruiting thoughts
I think given the recent coaching changes, Arizona might have lost out on Terrell Burgess. I get a feeling that he's sticking close to home and going SDSU or maybe ending up in Utah with a lot of his Southern California friends. Prior to the coaching changes, I said Terrell Burgess to Arizona with confidence.
The enrollment date for the spring semester is January 10th, and there should be about eight or so that I know of. Khalil Tate, Kahi Neves, Isaiah Hayes, Harper Sherman, Darrell Clark, Antonio Parks, and Keenan Walker should all be on campus this semester.
Is it normal to see these decommits close to signing day?
This year more than ever there have been a lot of decommitments all across college football. I'd say that's just because there were about 15+ job openings and there are new coaching staffs all across the country. However, decommitments are more common this time of year than most, simply because as we approach the end of the recruiting dead period, schools are throwing out offers left and right to see who bites, hoping a recruit schedules an official visit before signing day.
However, the guys that have decommitted gave Arizona more than enough depth at those positions. The biggest loss of that group is definitely Kapri Doucet, as he could have been an immediate starter, especially after hearing that Derrick Turituri could be out for all of 2016.
Jonathon Kongbo opens up his recruitment
The No. 1 JUCO recruit in the nation decommitted from Tennessee the other week and will now have three weeks to decide on a new school. He hails from Arizona Western, and was on an official visit to Arizona for the Utah game. I don't think he'll be ending up at an SEC school, as Oregon and Washington seem to be hot on him right now, pushing Arizona back a bit. The difference between those two teams compared to Arizona? Those two send guys to the NFL.
Josiah Sa'o recruitment heating up
I got a chance to learn about a new recruit that the coaching staff is trying to work their way on the roster. Josiah Sa'o is a 6-2 295lb offensive tackle/defensive end out of Kearny (San Diego, CA). The staff seems to be playing with their scholarship numbers, trying to work something out. I got a chance to speak to his family, and here's my piece on his recruitment.
Any surprising commitments coming up soon?
Yes, probably a lot. With all of these decommitments, Arizona will be scrambling a bit to get a good amount of guys in this class. It's not totally necessary to fill up every recruiting class, but your recruiting class is your future depth, and we saw how great that worked out this season.
We're starting to see Arizona offer guys left and right, waiting for them to bite and reciprocate that interest. From there, official visits will be scheduled, and this will be a very busy three weeks for recruiting.
Arizona's recruiting plan
From the looks of it, the coaching changes, gray and blue shirt options, and current depth has run a few guys out of this recruiting class. Now, Arizona is looking at 15 commits on the year. I'm not sure exactly where the scholarship numbers are as of now, but you'd figure it's pretty tight if the staff was asking guys to blue and gray shirt.
The Wildcats might be reaching for a few players who are committed to programs we saw above such as Oregon State and Western Kentucky. When Arizona comes swarming in your inbox this late in the game, that's pretty enticing. And this shouldn't be concerning because Rich Rodriguez picks his guys based on system fit. Don't stress out about the other offers some of these guys receive. The staff is great at finding talent first. A lot of people want to judge a recruit simply because he only has two stars next to him, or doesn't hold an offer to a power five school. Here, it's all about finding the right guy for the program. Rich Rodriguez wants it done the right way.
A positive to all of these decommitments. With all of these decommitments, it's opening up scholarships for the future. While it would have been nice to have Devon Modster, Tyliek Raynor and Jabari Watson, those guys might not have seen the field a whole lot in their career given the depth at those positions. So, come four years from now, if they're still on the team, that's a scholarship that was of little to no use, other than the simple fact of a slightly stronger third-team squad during practice. This team needs athletes and receivers for the future, and they're starting to attack that position in recruiting.