After a 3-9 season, the Arizona Wildcats needed a good showing on National Signing Day.
Did they get it? Well....
What are your overall thoughts on this class and how it addressed Arizona’s needs?
Gabe Encinas: Arizona adds a lot of much needed depth in this class and even adds to special teams. The way it stands now, this is Arizona’s highest ranked class under Rich Rodriguez in terms of average rating per recruit, which is around 84, with only one four-star and two-star keeping the average in tact.
Still, there are some huge question marks on offense around the quarterback, offensive line, and wide receivers. There are 16 guys on the defensive side of the ball, adding a load of linebackers (7) and yet another group of safeties (4) after bringing in five safeties in 2016. I’m pleased with the way this class turned out considering everything it went through, but at the same time there was a lot that could have been fixed.
Brandon Combs: Overall the class is pretty solid. Arizona is adding versatility and athleticism to the defense, which is much needed.
The Cats really hit the LB unit hard, which is something they knew they needed to do. Anthony Pandy, Joshua Brown, Tony Fields, Jalen Harris, Jose Ramirez, Colin Schooler, and Kylan Wilborn is a solid group of players.
Not to mention the attention the d-line is getting. Sione Taufahema is a nice get for nose tackle, while Kurtis Brown and My-King Johnson are great additions. Johnson is someone who could play right away as a freshman. Brown told me that the staff loved the shape he was in on his visit earlier this month. That shows that he isn't just sitting back and letting himself go while his knee heels.
Drake Horner: It may seem like this class has gone down the drain with the loss of all the highly ranked guys minus Nathan Tilford, but the strength of this class was in the middle. The linebacker class is really good, and when you add Jacob Colacion and Kahi Neves, that’s a great young core to work with. The defensive line got some attention with some interior guys in Taufahema and Brown, but probably needed a couple more. They also got an edge rusher in My-King who was quite the steal late in the process, and with Wilborn and Harris, those are some guys who can get to the quarterback.
I think Scott Young, Xavier Bell, and Troy Young are all vastly underrated at safety and Arizona made it a point to get some help in the secondary. The Wildcats probably needed another quarterback, but there is only so much you can do when you had a kid committed and then he dips out 48 hours before he’s supposed to enroll.
Not as much star power at the top of the class, but the middle of it should provide a lot of depth and is very solid.
Are you satisfied with Arizona’s recruiting efforts in general?
GE: Through August I was expecting this class to finish right around the top 25. Things certainly changed after Donte’ Williams left and bigger schools started picking apart the class. There were some head scratching moves throughout this cycle, but all in all, this is a strong class going forward.
The staff really didn’t send out those late offers like most of Arizona’s commits were receiving from other schools, but they did have to focus more on keeping their current verbals until National Signing Day.
Still, they did a good job in landing late additions such as Colin Schooler, Tony Wallace, Anthony Pandy, Sione Taufahema, Jose Ramirez, Lucas Havrisik, and My-King Johnson all in the final month. It’s just very concerning with the offensive line situation and the lack of size at receivers. It seems likely that Arizona goes after some graduate transfers to get some help immediately.
BC: Yes. Arizona is being more aggressive which is what it needs to do. Recruiting was a glaring area in need of improvement and the staff has done a great job addressing that need.
DH: Yes and no. Arizona needs to get more top talent and Rodriguez knows it. The class is still good in my opinion, but with the “best class ever” talk, it doesn’t seem as good as we thought it would be. That’s what happens when your best recruiter bolts and you go 3-9. Overall, I think this class will have quite a few guys playing next year and I do think it will be better than its ranking.