The Arizona Wildcats are currently sitting on 22 commitments for the 2017 recruiting class. How the exact scholarship numbers will play out is still to be determined. A school is allowed a maximum of 25 scholarships per recruiting cycle, given that they have not maxed out on their 85 total team scholarships.
The 25 scholarships can be played around with quite a bit by delaying or expediting enrollment. Should a commit decide to graduate high school early, they will then be able to enroll at Arizona for the spring semester, joining the team for spring practices. As of now, 4-star quarterback Braxton Burmeister and 3-star athletes Tony Fields and Darrian McNeal all plan to graduate early and join the Wildcats in the spring.
These scholarships now count against the 2016 scholarship count, allowing more flexibility for this 2017 recruiting class.
I’ve already given a projection as to how I expect this class to finish, although focusing in on my remaining Crystal Ball predictions might be a better way of visualizing this class for all the readers. It will also show which prospects are on the bubble and where I project other Arizona prospects to land.
We’ll start with future class commitments. Below are the guys who I have coming to Arizona, keeping in mind that there’s still a lot of time before National Signing Day. And yes, based on these projections, I have the Wildcats landing four top 100 players in this class, virtually a top 15 class.
3-star defensive end Jalen Harris
Despite a lot of intrigue with his Oregon offer, I’ve been told from Oregon Duck insiders that Arizona is in extremely good position to land him. While he has a lot of interest in UO, him being a double legacy and playing close to home is what will draw him to Tucson.
4-star linebacker Isaac Slade-Matautia
Since I spoke to Isaac I’ve had a good feeling that Arizona is in strong contention to land him and despite having multiple commitments from linebackers in this class, I’m not sure he is a guy the staff can turn down.
Arizona State, Nebraska and Washington all figure to be in the mix and I could realistically see him going to Seattle. But Michael Eletise and his family have been recruiting Isaac to Arizona, something Isaac told me plays a huge role in his recruitment.
4-star corner Thomas Graham
So Arizona is going to land a 4-star corner, I am confident in that. There are quite a few in play, but I think I've narrowed it down to Thomas Graham as the guy who ultimately comes to Arizona. On July 8th, I wrote that "Thomas Graham has been fizzling out for quite some time and I'd be impressed if the staff could reel him back". Maybe he never drifted away, but needless to say, I am extremely impressed.
I believe that Jaylon Redd heads to Oregon, Elijah Blades remains at Florida with a chance to flip and Jaylon Johnson heads elsewhere. But for now, I think Graham is the guy headed to Tucson.
4-star defensive end Hunter Echols
I've heard from multiple sources that he is going to decommit from UCLA. He does want an offer from Ohio State. Oregon and Notre Dame also figure to be in the mix, but with Braxton Burmeister as the lead recruiter here, I feel good about Echols. This staff will close on him.
5-star wide receiver Joseph Lewis
Saving the biggest for last. Arizona, Nebraska, Oklahoma and USC seem to be his top four right now. I think he’s coming to Arizona and joining Greg Johnson.
Now here is a look at some guys who are the bubble depending on how the timing of commitments shake out.
3-star running back Chris Brooks
He told me that Colorado State is his leader, then Arizona and Washington State. Arizona wants him at running back but he believes that he is best suited to play receiver. He’s waiting for an Oregon and USC offer, with both schools wanting to see a little more film. He’s set to decide in late July. If Arizona does land him, he might be a grey shirt candidate. I have him headed to Colorado State.
3-star offensive tackle Ryan Nelson
He likes what Arizona has to offer, but I think that Virginia currently has more to offer to him. While it would be nice to have another lineman in this class, I don’t think Arizona is in a hurry to add another just yet. I have Nelson headed to the Cavaliers.
4-star athlete Bruce Judson
This is probably one of the most interesting prospects based on pure scholarship numbers. Arizona already has one deadly speedster out of Florida and I’m not entirely sure if a guy like Darrian McNeal sways Judson.
He’s such an interesting prospect from the ranking standpoint as well. He was once a top 150 player, picking up offers left and right as a freshman. Now, nearly 19 years old, he sits barely inside the top 300, ranked 18th among players classified as athletes. I’ve been told by scouting experts that he might not be a top 500 player when all is said and done, dropping down to a 3-star. 247Sports currently has him ranked 489th nationally.
Still, he’s a versatile weapon that Arizona could use in the offense. His top schools are essentially Florida, Pitt, USF and Arizona, with Braxton Burmeister on his recruitment as well. I still have the Wildcats as my pick, but I’m not sure where his recruitment is headed.
3-star offensive tackle Tucker Robertson
He fell in love with Arizona and wanted to commit, but he didn’t want to rush into a commitment and cheat himself on any offers that may come his way. While he wants to wrap up his process by the start of the season, he told me that all schools — Arizona, Boise State and SDSU — are even now. Boise State was a childhood favorite of his and he really loves the proximity to home with SDSU. He’s taking visits now and will decide soon thereafter. I have Arizona in my Crystal Ball, but SDSU wouldn’t surprise me at all either.
4-star defensive end Deonte Johnson
Johnson just released his top ten and this seems to be more of a top five or so, with Miami, Arizona, Alabama, Michigan and Oklahoma as the top choices. I think Arizona has an extremely strong chance here, but I feel a lot better about Echols coming to Tucson compared to Johnson. Similar to how the corner situation has been, I feel confident that Arizona will land a 4-star defensive end, whether that is Echols or Johnson, we'll find out more as we get closer to National Signing Day.
4-star corner Elijah Blades
The main priority at corner seems to be Thomas Graham, but with Blades wanting a visit to Arizona, there’s no telling what could happen. I still think there’s a good chance he flips, but for now he seems fairly solid on Florida.
4-star running back O’Maury Samuels
Samuels is a Michigan commit that wants a visit to Tucson. I don’t think Arizona loses Nathan Tilford to Nebraska, but in case that does happen it looks like Samuels could be a potential flip. Maybe he still comes even if Tilford stays. Chris Singletary has been hitting Michigan hard and they’ve had some decent success with Bryce Wolma and Bryce Brand. This is something to keep your eye on for now.
3-star defensive end Jabreel Stephens
One defensive end that Arizona might also be looking to add is Jabreel Stephens. He's a 3-star defensive end and he wants to visit Arizona and Louisville. He attends the same school as Arizona commit Darrian McNeal. I'll be working to collect a little more information on this prospect.
Now onto guys who I get questions about but likely have zero chance of coming to Arizona. Of course there’s still plenty of time to bring these guys back in, but right now I’d say UA isn’t in the mix.
4-star corner Jaylon Redd
Based on a few people I’ve spoken to, he seems like a lock for Oregon.
4-star safety Isaiah Pola-Mao
Even though he is a local kid out of Mountain Pointe (Phoenix, AZ), I think he’s Washington bound. He’s close to Byron Murphy, one of the top Arizona recruits in the 2016 class out of Saguaro (Scottsdale, AZ) and has family in Washington.
5-star corner Darnay Holmes
Despite having his older brother on the team, Darick, I think Arizona is a goner here. Nebraska and UCLA seem to be the two favorites, with Michigan and Stanford not completely out of it either. I have UCLA as my Crystal Ball, but that could easily change to Nebraska.