The Arizona Wildcats are starting to have some of their 2016 recruiting class report to campus, ready to go through summer workouts and classes while adjusting to the college lifestyle.
What's great about this recruiting class is that it's filled with solid depth. Looking back at what's remaining of Rich Rodriguez' recruiting classes, there wasn't a whole lot of talent towards the bottom of the class. But now in 2016 you can look up and down this commitment list and see where each guy fits in the system and how they can be used.
I'll break it down quickly for each recruit
Chacho Ulloa - 6-foot, 190 pound safety
Ulloa is going to find the field early, without a doubt, bandit or free safety being his most likely position. The safety depth is extremely weak, which is why Kwesi Mashack and Jarvis McCall were moved there from corner during the fall.
Josh Allen - 6-foot-4, 260 pound defensive end
It'll be interesting to see what kind of shape Allen comes in as he took this past season off at Long Beach City College to keep an extra year of eligibility. I'd expect it takes Allen a couple of games to find himself in the rotation. Since he sat out at LBCC he will have three years to play at Arizona.
Devaughn Cooper - 5-foot-11, 175 pound wide receiver
This is an interesting piece on offense. I feel like he might be a little one dimensional because of his speed but he makes guys miss in the open field. But again, a lot of his plays in high school were screens and vertical routes.
Jacob Colacion - 6-foot-1, 210 pound linebacker
I think Colacion can be an extremely productive player at Arizona when all is said and done. He's super athletic for a linebacker and I feel like he could even play that hybrid safety role we're starting to see more of.
Jalen Cochran - 6-foot-4, 225 pound linebacker
Cochran still seems like a steal here. Had Michigan State come in earlier I think they would have landed him. I'm not sure what position Cochran projects to be, but give him two or three years and he could be a Derrick Turituri type player.
JJ Taylor - 5-foot-6, 155 pound running back
He'll be competing for that third running back spot and his talents are really a double-edged sword. You could give him limited touches and allow him to make plays as a freshman but exhaust a year of eligibility. Or you could keep him off the field and save him for four years. Sure, height is a concern, but he's well built and an incredible talent. Having him surrounded by Orlando Bradford and Nathan Tilford will be deadly.
Bryson Cain - 6-foot-4, 270 pound offensive tackle
I really like how Michalczik recruits the offensive line. They all have a certain type/style and there are a lot of young linemen in the works that are extremely talented. He could be a huge staple on the offensive line later in his career.
Gavin Robertson - 6-foot-2, 200 pound safety
Robertson is one of my favorite prospects of this class. He reminds me a lot of Jared Tevis and I think he'll be someone who develops into a nice player in the secondary. There are about five safeties who could play immediately next year. It'll be interesting to see if he's in that group.
Justin Holt - 6-foot-4, 285 pound defensive tackle
Coming off an injury, he figures to be 100% and ready for action at Arizona. He's just another big piece on the defensive line that Arizona needs, as he's pushing 300 pounds.
Lorenzo Burns - 6-foot, 165 pound corner back
Burns is probably the most athletic prospect of the entire group. He played a lot of receiver in high school but will come in at corner to help the depth out. Last season Arizona threw two true freshmen into the fire early with Sammy Morrison and Jace Whittaker, but I think Burns is more of a redshirt guy.
Shawn Poindexter - 6-foot-6, 210 pound wide receiver
At 6-foot-6 he's not just a vertical route runner that can outreach the corners. He can run slants and use his body to shield the corner off. He comes from a volleyball background playing middle blocker which is all about timing, so he'll be able to use that skillset to win a majority of jump balls. When you watch his highlights, you'll see corners struggle to find the right timing to match up against him.
Fransisco Nelson - 6-foot-3, 215-pound linebacker
Nelson played defensive end at the high school level but he'll come in as a linebacker. Arizona's lowest ranked recruit of the bunch but by no means does that qualify him as the least talented of the group, but this could be a small project to develop.
Tristan Cooper - 6-foot-1, 180-pound safety
I really like Cooper. Had he played anywhere else but El Paso, Texas he would have been ranked higher on the boards. I think he's in the conversation to see the field early as a freshman. When I spoke with him after his commitment, he said that was a huge selling point for him and the coaches felt that he could play any of the safety positions.
Jarrius Wallace - 6-foot-2, 180-pound safety
Another safety, Wallace is likely projected to play up top at free. I like what Wallace brings to the table and he's another guy that could see the field early. Working him in with Anthony Mariscal and Jarvis McCall would be nice.
Michael Eletise - 6-foot-4, 315 pound offensive guard
I'll mention below how rare it is for freshmen to play offensive line, but if things go south for the offensive line, Eletise could be thrown into the fire depending on how fast he picks things up. He can play either guard or center which certainly helps.
Khalil Tate - 6-foot-2, 206-pound quarterback
This is probably the guy everyone is wondering is about. Right now it's pretty hard to say that he's legitimately in the quarterback competition. Whether he redshirts this season or not would still be way too early to tell. Still, Tate is one of the best athletes on the team and could be split out at wide receiver if the staff sees fit.
Isaiah Hayes - 6-foot, 165-pound safety
Originally a corner, Hayes will be moving up to safety. I don't remember seeing too much of Hayes during the open spring scrimmage, but at least he has this extra spring under his belt.
Kahi Neves - 6-foot-4, 240 pound linebacker
During open spring practice he was a going third team behind DeAndre' Miller and Kendal Franklin. Not sure what to expect from him as a freshman, but he's going to be the cornerstone of the defense in a few years.
Antonio Parks - 5-foot-10, 177 pound corner
It's a shame Antonio Parks had to grey shirt after tearing his ACL. He was my pick for breakout freshman last season before the news. He's told me that he is 100% and feeling stronger, so perhaps he finds himself in the rotation. A couple of players this spring said he's shown flashes but still learning.
Harper Sherman - 6-foot-5, 260 pound offensive tackle
Coach Jim Michalzcik has talked about how difficult it is for freshmen to come in immediately and play offensive line at the collegiate level. There's also a lot of young talent ahead of Sherman, but having this spring experience certainly helps.
Kennan Walker - 6-foot-5, 266 pound offensive tackle
Coach Michalzcik seemed to be fairly impressed with Walker considering his ACL recovery. Still, I don't imagine him playing this season unless depth gets extremely weak. But he's a guy who could be a huge contributor a few years down the road.
Jamie Nunley - 6-foot-5, 205 pound tight end
Nunley is a huge target who worked out primarily with the tight ends this spring. There's still a chance he could be set out wide later in his career, or maybe more of that Austin Hill position to help address the height issue in the passing game. Brion Anduze suffered a pretty nasty injury this spring which helps Nunley's case a bit. I would still imagine he redshirts.
@Gabe_Encinas Any info on the greyshirts (Britt/Halimon)?— Brandon Combs (@UofABearDown07) June 5, 2016
I've been told by the staff that Russell Halimon will not be joining the team. There hasn't been much information as to why, but it could be a multitude of reasons. He did suffer an ACL tear during his senior season which was extremely unfortunate, because at the time he was one of my favorite running backs in the class, with Sean Riley and Tyliek Raynor still committed.
As for Jessie Britt, he's a longshot to come. This is likely health related. He's had some heart concerns that kept him hospitalized for quite some time. However, if he is able to join the team, he will be used at receiver, presumably in the slot.
@Gabe_Encinas who are the immediate contributors? Who are the potential red shirts?— Ronnie (@stof_602sports) June 5, 2016
To recap: The immediate impact guys will be Ulloa, Allen, Taylor (third running back spot). I also think Cooper surprises some people and then I'll say Poindexter contingent on him winning his appeal. He wants three years to play two after having issues enrolling at Cal Baptist. If he ends up with two years to play one, I think it's possible that he's just a one year guy. Or maybe it's the complete opposite.
Also, I think this class is filled with a lot of great pieces in the works, not necessarily immediate contributors. Give this class two or three years and a lot of these guys be starting.
Redshirts would include Cain, Nelson, Holt, Hayes, Colacion. Probably Burns and Cochran as well. Tate and Eletise are two interesting pieces, as well as Taylor if they decide to hold him back.
@Gabe_Encinas recruiting question- fair 2 say Elijah Blades might have Florida as his favorite? Just visited & he's had them high with Az— Brandon S. (@BSepulveda) June 5, 2016
Elijah Blades definitely has a mind of his own. Last month he said Arizona was the leader, yet made it known that Florida was his dream school. His visit went well, but I felt like if he really enjoyed it, he would have just ended his recruitment and committed on the spot. It's something that happens a lot with Arizona visitors.
He said he's backing off any decision dates now and he's still taking that Nebraska visit in the fall for the Oregon game, so this could be a long recruitment to follow.