The Arizona Wildcats started July with a nice bang, adding two commitments in Cody Shear and Rhedi Short. The class now sits at 21 commitments, and is ranked 14th in the nation. With only so many spots, the staff will be holding those for their top talents remaining on the board, typically the guys who take their official visits and then decide.
Arizona has three 4-stars, 17 3-stars and one 2-star prospect at this time. I've said from the beginning that the Wildcats will likely land about six 4-stars and I still feel good about that prediction. But I'll touch more on that once we get to the reader questions.
Quickly on Rhedi Short's commitment. When people ask about 3-star guys who could bump up to 4-star status, he fits the bill. He’s a popular guy, which will help Arizona secure some more top talent to this class.
Wide receiver visits
Arizona will have a few visitors this month, all of which are wide receivers. 5-foot-9 speedster Darrian McNeal will be on campus July 11th. He tells me Arizona is his top school right now. 6-foot-3 target Bryan Thompson will be in Tucson the week after, but I get a feeling he will go to Oregon or Washington. And then Bruce Judson, the 4-star athlete, will be heading to campus soon as well. He planned to visit with three of his best pals in Robert Porcher and Nick Smith, but Porcher has since committed to Nebraska and Smith I feel is headed to UNC.
@Gabe_Encinas Gabe out of the big 3 CB prospects (Redd, Graham, Jay Johnson) who do you think we'll push for and who do you think we'd land?— Brandon Combs (@UofABearDown07) July 6, 2016
Jaylon Redd, but I get the feeling that Oregon is his clear favorite right now.
Thomas Graham has been fizzling out for quite some time and I'd be impressed if the staff could reel him back. ASU seems to be making a big push, as well as Oregon. But I have UCLA as my Crystal Ball prediction.
Jaylon Johnson depends on his official visit schedule. If Arizona is in line for one, I like the chances. With a top ten it's hard to see which five get cut so it'll take some time. For now I think Arizona is on the outside looking in for an official visit from him.
@Gabe_Encinas How do you see us finishing out this class player wise? How many more do to take?— Jackson (@JAX83SUN) July 6, 2016
This is what I think the remaining board looks like
- 5* WR Joseph Lewis
- 4* ATH Bruce Judson
- 4* WR KJ Hamler
- 4* ILB Isaac Slade-Matautia
- 4* CB Elijah Blades/Jaylon Redd
- 3* DE Odua Isibor/Jalen Harris/My-King Johnson
- 3* WR Darrian McNeal
- 3* ATH Chris Brooks
- 3* OL Tucker Robertson
Based on a rough spreadsheet I made, I want to say there are 25 scholarships available for this class, with even more room with grey shirt options. There's also a possibility that Rhett Rodriguez could come off scholarship, freeing up one more spot. The reason for the initial scholarship offer/commitment could be so that he could help in the recruiting efforts. Russell Halimon and Jessie Britt, last year's grey shirts, are long shots to make it to campus and keep the numbers in place for 2017.
The staff is going to end this class with a bang, which will solidify a top 25 ranking. I think U of A is in good shape to land Lewis and potentially Judson if they want to have him play some running back.
Slade-Matatuia would be extremely intriguing and I still get a good vibe about him. I feel good about Arizona landing a 4-star corner, whether that’s flipping Blades from Florida or landing Redd, or a future corner who has yet to be offered. However I think Blades is more likely.
I like the Wildcats' chances of landing at least one in-state defensive end on the list as well. Then there's McNeal and Brooks, who both have Arizona as their top school, along with Tucker Robertson solidifying the offensive line.
@Gabe_Encinas Are you getting nervous about Harris blowing up and going elsewhere? We gotta get Desert Swarm 2.0 going.— MaxPower (@maxpower1616) July 6, 2016
Sort of. As I mention above, Arizona is in the mix for at least one of the three in-state defensive line prospects and they've all blown up after Arizona was the very first school to offer them. Arizona State, Oregon, USC, and Texas A&M all quickly jumped on board afterwards.
Harris seems to have a bit of an Oregon lean and while the family is pushing for the Desert Swarm legacy, he wants to make this decision entirely on his own.
However, if I could pick any of the three, I would take Isibor. Of the three he might be the most likely for Arizona, although there's still a great chance Harris follows his fathers footsteps. I would also gladly take My-King Johnson if Isibor or Harris opt to go elsewhere. The staff is in a good spot here for defensive ends.
@Gabe_Encinas If you were going to guess, what 5 players does Arizona have a good chance at getting committed.— David Soble (@Dsoble) July 6, 2016
Well, when I originally answered this on Twitter I had thought it said which 5-star players does Arizona have a good chance at landing. I immediately responded with Joseph Lewis. Well, he’s one of the five that I do think Arizona has a good chance at landing.
Onto the next four. I will say Blades, Isibor, McNeal and Robertson. There’s just something about Blades that tells me Arizona will come back on top.
@Gabe_Encinas How do we stand with ATH Bruce Judson Jr.? Do you think we have a chance to land him?— Steven Armenta (@Menta_JC) July 6, 2016
I like Arizona’s chances. He's taken a dip in the rankings since his sophomore season and I don't think he'll be a 4-star by the end of the season, but I still like his talents in the system. He could also double as a running back, which I really like.
Braxton Burmesiter is doing a great job of recruiting him and I've heard some extremely positive words about Judson and Arizona. From the outside it looks like Pitt has the lead, but I have my crystal ball prediction for Arizona. He's a National Signing Day commitment so he would have a spot saved for him as a silent commit.
@Gabe_Encinas any 2018 football recruits we should know about for Arizona recruiting?— Lawrence Castillo (@LawCast1982) July 6, 2016
Already looking ahead, I love it. There are already a few names to look out for and they’re pretty big.
- 5-star WR Jalen Hall
- 4-star WR Marquis Spiker
- 4-star DE Jeremiah Martin
- 4-star CB Marcus Johnson
- 4-star CB Brendan Radley-Hiles
- 3-star DE Andres Fox
- 3-star QB Michael Penix
- WR Lawrence Keys III
- OT Joey Ramos
@Gabe_Encinas Are there any other RB's that Arizona is targeting in the 2017 class?— Andreas flores (@Andreasflores12) July 2, 2016
I’m not entirely too sure if Arizona adds a full-time running back in the class, especially when they don’t have much space left. They do have a few guys who could double as a slot receiver/running back: Brooks, McNeal and Judson.
I think someone to watch is Drake Beasley, but he is someone I have not been able to talk to/collect much information on. Biaggio Ali Walsh is also an option if they’re truly seeking another running back, but I think he goes to Cal.
"What happened with (Darnay Holmes)? He was suppose to commit on June 23 which was his birthday. I haven’t seen anything on him picking a school. Hope we get him while doubtful but just haven’t seen anything on him."
Yep, Darnay was supposed to commit on June 23rd, but suddenly called that off, wanting to give more schools an opportunity and give himself more time.
I honestly don’t think there is a frontrunner here, with Nebraska, Stanford and UCLA, and possibly Michigan in the mix as well.
I haven’t said too much about Holmes because I got a feeling that Arizona was slowly fading away as an option, despite his older brother being a receiver on the team. While I felt like U of A was in decent position at one time, he just decided to go in another direction.