There's been a flurry of recruiting action over the last few days so I felt it was appropriate to have another Q&A session. The Arizona Wildcats have been landing commitments left and right on both sides of the ball and the recruiting class is filling up quickly. If you missed my recruiting round up you can find it here.
There were a lot of questions about wide receivers and linebackers. I broke down the remaining wide receiver targets on Arizona's board here. There were also a few questions on some of the bigger name recruits, as well as the success of this new coaching staff.
Feel free to send any recruiting questions you may have.
@Gabe_Encinas How do the recent WR commits effect some that are really interested in us. Is it whomever commits first? How many do the take?— Jackson (@JAX83SUN) June 14, 2016
Arizona needs a lot of help at receiver. They lost three of their top four receivers this past year and will be losing Trey Griffey, Nate Phillips and Samajie Grant after the 2016 season. There are currently three wide receivers on board, with Bryce Gilbert having the flexibility of playing wide out or tight end. I think Arizona takes three more guys to help fill that void: Warren Jackson, Maurice Bell and either Chris Brooks or Bruce Judson. Then if Joseph Lewis does commit they might just take all of them. There are the options of moving guys around, lay off their recruitment or gray shirt. But at this point I think it's all about who commits first. The staff is really going to have to manage how they recruit the remaining receivers.
@Gabe_Encinas How many commitments are we taking this cycle? If there is no hard number, what is the roundabout number?— Brandon Combs (@UofABearDown07) June 14, 2016
Not sure there is a hard number but I feel like Arizona is going to have to take closer to 30 guys this year.
@Gabe_Encinas just want to see what our recent commits at LB and WR do to prospective recruits. Does it eliminate some— boog (@_boog1) June 14, 2016
This is a good question. I feel like it does shy a few people away. It seems as if Arizona is still going to pursue linebackers, but now they might have to be a little cautious. I'm fairly confident that Isaac Slade-Matuatia is headed to Arizona despite the commitments, so that puts a guy like Nick Smith in a tough spot if he wants to commit. I have talked to Richard Cage and he has told me that the staff hasn't been in communication with him. As for receivers, I hope the explanation above helped.
@Gabe_Encinas Does UofA have a chance to obtain commitment(s) from any 5-star players?— RobfromAZ (@RobfromAZ) June 14, 2016
This is extremely tough. There are roughly 30 5-star guys per year and some programs like Florida, Stanford and Notre Dame don't even land 5-star guys on an annual basis. With that being said, there is one 5-star that Arizona is in very strong contention for: wide receiver Joseph Lewis out of Augustus Hawkins. If his teammate Greg Johnson remains committed, I believe that the Wildcats have an extremely good chance at landing Lewis. For now, prior to taking any official visits, I think Johnson stays. But of course the scholarship numbers have to add up to take seven receivers, which is a possibility.
@Gabe_Encinas Good Morning Gabe, what's your take on D Holmes? Is he AZ or other? Sorry if i missed it.— Ricky Mroz jr. (@RkyMroz_jr) June 14, 2016
Kind of in line with the question above, Darnay Holmes I believe is out of reach for Arizona, despite his brother being on the team. I have Nebraska in my Crystal Ball and I would say UCLA is probably the next closest. Having that talent would be nice, but I feel good about Elijah Blades committing, which gives Arizona some serious size at corner with Blades' 6-foot-3 frame that can move to safety as well.
@Gabe_Encinas Would last year's staff have had this much success so far in terms of recruiting??— Bubba (@imthecanman) June 14, 2016
No. And it's not even close. When I talk to recruits, the first thing they mention is the new vibe from the coaching staff. Not to say the old staff wasn't good at recruiting, but this new staff can certainly relate to their players a lot more and is just an extremely cohesive unit as a whole. There are only a few guys I could imagine the old staff landing from this current recruiting class: Rhett Rodriguez, Kylan Wilborn and Kurtis Brown. The rest of the guys are all pretty much from new recruiting pipelines that the new coaches brought with them.
@Gabe_Encinas do you legitimately think AZ can contend in the South? I think they can but wanted your opinion. Thx— Underscore Deportes (@TanSperry) June 14, 2016
I think so. Maybe not exactly this year but in two years or so they can consistently compete.
The big question mark this year is the defense. All off-season guys have been talking about the new staff and how they're going to get to the quarterback in creative ways. Now, before we make BYU our measuring stick, we need to see how the Cougars do against Utah and UCLA following the opener. Washington has been "up-and-coming" for the past four years now but I feel like they could be legit this year. That's a big game that could determine the season outlook. UCLA will be tough and Utah I'm not worried about. Arizona can play up to USC and it is at home so that's an interesting match up. Christian McCaffrey could have a career day against the defense and Washington State might be hit or miss. Colorado, Oregon State and Arizona State to me are all going to be equal next year. Of course the Territorial Cup spices things up but I find it hard to expect a whole lot out of ASU next year with all their coaching staff and quarterback turnover.
I would expect the Wildcats to win around seven games at the minimum with a bowl victory as well. Also keep in mind that Rich Rodriguez has taken down a top 10 team each of the last four years at home, so maybe they find a way to shut down McCaffrey or dethrone USC.