If you've been keeping up with our recruiting coverage, the Arizona Wildcats' recruiting board has grown to become quite large. They're extending offers to some of the top guys in the nation, while also talking to some of the best kept secrets in the nation, something Arizona has done an outstanding job in finding over the last few years.
Arizona currently only has two commits for this class, one of which is ranked in Greg Johnson, a 4-star athlete ranked 73rd in the nation overall. This was the first commit for the new defensive staff, and it'll be one of the biggest if they can keep him until signing day. The other commit is Rich Rodriguez' son, Rhett Rodriguez -- an unranked quarterback who committed back in December.
Greg Johnson's commitment was a bit unexpected, which is exactly what's going to help Arizona and their recruiting efforts. Coach Donté Williams has talked about it before -- he's going to be in the ears of some of the top recruits in the Los Angeles area, doing his part to make this team better before he even arrives to campus.
There are a lot of guys on Arizona's board, but the ones below are the guys I've been able to talk to and collect a lot of information on. As we get closer to the evaluation period, things will continue to roll for Arizona and a lot more information will be pumped out.
Elijah Blades, 4-star cornerback
Blades is 6-foot-3 170 pound corner out of John Muir (Pasadena, CA), and is a guy who said that his Arizona offer was a dream come true. He currently holds offers to Florida, San Jose and Washington State, while being ranked as the No. 53 best corner in the nation. He said that Florida is his dream school, and this could go either way for Arizona.
He will be on campus this weekend for an unofficial visit.
Chris Brooks, 3-star running back
Brooks is a 3-star running back out of Newbury Park (Newbury Park, CA), and is ranked No. 62 among all running backs. When I spoke with him, he said that Arizona was his dream school. I'd be shocked if he didn't end up with Arizona. With his commitment, that would bring three running backs into this class, with Jessie Britt and Russell Halimon gray shirting, and joining the 2017 class. With those three, I would think that gives Arizona all of the running backs they need for the future.
Darnay Holmes, 5-star cornerback
The big fish is Darnay Holmes, the younger brother of redshirt freshman wide receiver Darick Holmes. Darnay is ranked first among all defensive backs in the nation, and is the seventh overall recruit.
With Greg Johnson already locked down, and the staff being hopeful that they can keep him until signing day, Darnay Holmes would automatically make what could be one the best defensive back duos in the 2017 recruiting class.
Scottie Young, 3-star safety
After the commitment of Greg Johnson, Scottie Young was hinting that he could be next. Whether that means next to commit out of their group of friends, or next to commit to Arizona, we don't know. But he's a guy to watch out for on the recruiting board.
I'm up next— Scottie Young (@_scottieoo) March 2, 2016
I was able to speak with him a bit about his recruiting process. "[Arizona] is big time and to be able to get that offer is a blessing and a big relief," he said about his offer.
And he seems to have a great relationship with Coach Donté Williams. "I love him as a coach I've known him for a while now I can relate to him really good and I've also heard great things about him," Young said.
Elijah Hicks, 3-star corner
This is another defensive back to keep an eye on. His father grew up in South Tucson and was very excited for his son to receive the offer. He's also had a great relationship with Coach Williams as well, having previous contact with him through various camps, and was also being recruited by San Jose State before Williams left for Arizona. For now, he says that Arizona is "definitely up there" on the list.
Drew Dixon, unranked athlete
This is a local Tucson product out of Sabino High, checking in at 6-foot-4, 195 pounds -- the size that Arizona has been seeking over the last two recruiting classes. He's been a fan of the program ever since he can remember and can play a multitude of positions for Arizona, but it seems as if wide receiver would be most likely. Arizona was his first offer, and since then he's picked up a few more offers, including Hawaii and Colorado State.
Jalen Harris, unranked wide receiver
This is a special recruitment process here, as Jalen's father is Sean Harris, a member of the Desert Swarm defense. He comes in with size, standing at 6-foot-3, 210 pounds, and could be a huge asset to the recruiting class. He's picked up a few more offers since Arizona has contacted him and has been generating a lot of interest. He told me that Arizona State and Oregon State are two of the notable Pac-12 schools that are pursuing him.
Brian Casteel, 3-star receiver
This is one of the guys who came into that big recruiting group just last week. He enjoyed his visit and I would think Arizona is one of his five official visits come this fall. No, there's no relation to former Arizona defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel.
Taariq Johnson, 4-star receiver
Johnson is a big time receiver that Arizona still figures to have a decent chance with. His recruitment is bound to blow up soon, especially if he continues to climb up in the rankings. However, at one point he was ranked within the Top 240 and was close to falling out of the Top 300, but now sits at No. 260 overall.
Jeremy Singleton, 3-star receiver
A New Orleans product that I could definitely see Arizona landing. Right now he's intrigued with Arkansas, Mississippi State and Vanderbilt, but also really likes the spread offense of Arizona.
Bryce Gilbert, 3-star receiver
One of the top 10 prospects in the state of Arizona, the Wildcats were the first school to offer Gilbert, which he said really meant a lot. Of course, just about two hours later, Arizona State sent out an offer. He's a Top 100 receiver in the nation and his recruitment will probably continue to blow up. When all is said and done, I wouldn't be surprised if he picks up offers from schools like UCLA, Michigan State and so on. He already has offers to Nebraska and Louisville, so those caliber of schools figure to be next in the offer rankings.
Bryce Wolma, 3-star tight end
This is a very close friend to Rhett Rodriguez, as both of them met in school during Rich's days at Michigan. The two have remained close, with Bryce coming out to Tucson to visit his friend every now and then. Wolma has picked up some offers, but I feel good about where Arizona stands for now.
Odua Isibor, unranked defense end
Another in-state prospect out of St. Mary's High School, Isibor is a 6-foot-6, 210 pound defensive end that has already been on campus for an unofficial visit. For being unranked, he has a number of notable offers, including USC and Kansas State.
Joseph Lewis, 5-star wide receiver
Arizona's top recruit of the class, Greg Johnson, comes from Augustus Hawkin, and so does Joseph Lewis, a 5-star wide receiver. He's the No. 20 recruit in the country. This is a big fish that Johnson is going to take a lot of strength to help Arizona reel in. It's hard to imagine Lewis having a ton of interest in Arizona, especially with signs pointing to USC being the leader in his recruitment, but having the Hawkins connection helps a little bit.
Isaiah Pola-Mao, 4-star safety
Pole-Mao is a Top 300 product from the Phoenix area out of Mountain Pointe High School. Arizona was one of the first schools recruiting him back when he was a sophomore. A 6-foot-4, 240 pound safety is exactly what Arizona wants, but they're going to have to compete with some of the top Pac-12 schools to get him. Arizona State is pursuing him hard, but we know that they like bring in junior college products on defense, which could push Pola-Mao away.
Jacob Bolton, unranked offensive tackle
A 6-foot-5 prospect out of Georgia who made his way to campus for an unofficial visit, Bolton only holds offers to Georgia State and Troy, but this could be a guy who picks up an offer later in the process, making him a name to watch.
Bryan Thompson, 3-star receiver
A receiver out of Rancho Verde High School, the same school as former Arizona target Terrance Miller, Thompson is on the verge of being a Top-300 prospect and Top-50 wide receiver. He told me that he did like how Arizona is such a prominent school, as a lot of his high school feeds into Arizona. He's been in contact with Miguel Reveles, Donté Williams and Kylan Butler.
Sampson Niu, 3-star linebacker
Niu is a borderline 4-star linebacker out of San Diego that's ranked No. 17 in the nation among all inside linebackers. He was recently on campus at USC and has picked up offers from Notre Dame, Ole Miss and Washington. I haven't reached out to him yet, but this might be a guy to at least keep an eye on.
Jacob Kibodi, 3-star athlete
Another Louisiana product with size, as Kibodi stands at 6-foot-2 and 190 pounds. He's ranked 59th among all athletes. For now, I feel good about Kibodi. When we last spoke, I asked him where Arizona stacked up in comparison to the other schools, and he said "at the top." He's been receiving attention from Baylor, Missouri, TCU, UCLA and Vanderbilt as well, which says a lot about how highly he thinks of Arizona.
Jalen Cole, 3-star cornerback
The staff has been talking to Jalen Cole for quite some time now. The way the process has played out, it wouldn't surprise me if they wait until he plays out his senior season to offer him. He's been in contact with Coach Williams recently and he's been a motivator for Cole, telling him good things will come if he keeps his work up. Cole is a bit undersized at 5-foot-9, but I've really enjoyed watching him.
Bruce Judson, 4-star athlete
This is an explosive four-star athlete who would likely end up playing wide receiver. Judson is a guy who had interest in Arizona prior to receiving his offer, noting the fast-paced offense under Rich Rodriguez. He took an unofficial visit and told me it was unlike anything else, a 10 out of 10 in all departments.
But his initial interest stemmed from Braxton Burmeister, as the two had developed a friendship since middle school. When Burmeister committed to Arizona, it perked the interest of Judson. With Burmeister out of the question now, this makes for an interesting recruitment. Judson had told me that Florida was his dream school, but Ohio State seems to be creeping into the picture.
You would figure that Arizona can make a run to be among his final five schools, making it an uphill battle as his list of offers continues to grow, but this is a name to keep an eye on.
Based on the current recruiting board, I feel confident saying that Arizona will be landing some extremely talented wide receivers in this recruiting class, particularly ones with size.
Another thing I feel good about is Arizona landing another 4-star cornerback. Whether that may be Elijah Blades, Darnay Holmes, or another name that has yet to scratch the surface. Arizona's new coaching staff was able to secure quite a few standout defensive backs late in the game for 2016, including Chacho Ulloa, and that was in the span of about three weeks. With an entire season, this staff will be able to pull off some great things.