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Football recruiting SitRep: A look at Arizona’s future at linebacker, three new commits, and more

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Now to take a look at Arizona’s LB group

wildcat-wrap-arizona-football-hawaii-week-0-wildcats-warriors-basketball-soccer-volleyball Ivan Pierre Aguirre-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Wildcats have started to gain some momentum on the recruiting trail as we transition into the summer dead period, which started on June 25 and runs to July 24.

The ‘Cats had multiple visitors on official visits, and ended up adding three new pieces to the 2019 class.

We will also be looking at the future of the linebacker group and answering some reader questions.

Without further delay, let’s dive into this week’s SitRep.


Commitments

South Oak Cliff High School (Dallas, TX) 3-star linebacker Derrion Clark announced his commitment while on his official visit to Tucson. He has earned Associated Press Class 5A First-team All-state for the past two years and is under-recruited in my opinion. He has primarily played defensive line for his school but will play linebacker at the next level. He brings speed and aggression with him to Tucson, but he does need a little more development to unlock his full potential. He finished his junior season with 111 tackles, 26 tackles for loss, and 19 sacks.

UA’s second commit also hails from Dallas. Big 3-star defensive tackle Kane Bradford, from Skyline High School, announced his commitment on Sunday afternoon. Bradford brings something you can’t teach: size. He is 6-foot-6, 270 pounds and has the frame that can easily hold at least 30-40 more pounds. He has tremendous upside and is very athletic for his size. He used to play basketball and has only been playing football for a couple of years. With the current depth on the defensive line, Bradford is a good get as he will have an extra year to learn and develop before he sees the field in college.

Edison High School (Fresno, CA) outside linebacker Kwabena Watson announced his commitment a few hours after Bradford. He is a violent and aggressive pass rusher that will instantly help Arizona in that regard as soon as he steps on campus. He also became the first California player in the class in an area where they’ve had a lot of success. Watson comes from a school that has consistently solid defenses. It is also the same school that gave Arizona Robert Golden and freshman cornerback McKenzie Barnes. Watson finished his senior season with 60 tackles, 18 tackles for loss, 7 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries, and 6 pass breakups.

CLARK COMMITMENT ARTICLE

BRADFORD COMMITMENT ARTICLE

WATSON COMMITMENT ARTICLE


Linebackers

Key Returners: Tony Fields II, Colin Schooler, Anthony Pandy, Jacob Colacion, Carrington Vaughn, Richard Merritt

Returning Redshirts: Rexx Tessler

Key Losses: Gavin Robertson, Brandon Rutt

Key Newcomer: Issaiah Johnson

Returner Notes: Arizona brings back one of the best linebacker units in the Pac-12, and they are only sophomores. Schooler and Fields had absolute monster seasons last year and were the top two tacklers on the team. Almost every play it seemed that they were around the ball carrier. We know what we are getting with the talented linebackers, but let’s look at who is behind them.

Both Pandy and Colacion have solidified their positions behind Fields and Schooler after having a solid spring. Colacion has made noise ever since he stepped on campus but he redshirted his first season and didn’t see much action last year. Pandy gained valuable game experience last year and impressed when he was on the field, flying to the ball carrier. Since both players have some experience, look for them to make more of an impact this season and give Fields and Schooler more rest.

Newcomer Notes: Johnson is underrated in my opinion. He was a tackling machine all throughout high school and was a solid pass rusher. As a matter of fact, that is where his biggest impact will be for the ‘Cats. He was just vicious coming off the edge and attacking the quarterback or ball carrier. He does need some work in pass coverage and I would describe him as a tad below average when it comes to dropping back in coverage. But that’s something he can improve on. I see him moving to stud backer but at the same time he has the versatility to play Mike linebacker. Either way, I see Johnson seeing the field early in some form or fashion.


2019 Targets

For the most part, the linebacker group is done for 2019. It is possible that UA could take one more and there are two we will focus on below.

Curley Young, 3-star

6-foot-3/210 pounds/Hendrickson High School (Pflugerville, TX)

Unable to find career stats

Young recently worked out for the Arizona coaches during a camp in Texas and they liked what they saw. Young mainly plays defensive end for his school and he is dangerous off the edge. He has an explosive first step and very quick hands which allow him to bypass blockers. Once in the backfield he has the discipline to not over-pursue and explode towards the ball carrier once he knows he can make the play.

Young is up to 19 offers with California, SMU, New Mexico, Colorado State, and Hawaii as a few of the schools who join Arizona on his list. As mentioned above, I’m not 100 percent sure that UA will take another backer. If they do, Young is one I can see them making a push for.

Seth Robinson, 3-star

6-foot-3/215 pounds/Saguaro High School (Scottsdale, AZ)

Junior Season (9 games): 32 tackles, 11.0 TFL, 4.5 sacks

Robinson is a crazy, freak athlete. He also plays the edge for Saguaro and is just savage coming off the edge. He has a phenomenal skillset that you can’t teach. He utilizes his speed with severe aggression and is able to disrupt plays consistently because of that combo. He is severely under-rated, especially being from a nationally known high school such as Saguaro.

Robinson only holds five offers with Arizona, Louisville, Iowa State, UNLV, and Northern Arizona on his list. He is another player I see Arizona pursuing if it is looking for another linebacker, especially since it would give them an in at a school like Saguaro.


Reader Questions

From @_boog1: Who is on campus and who isn’t? Who else, defensively, are we looking at? How did the weekend visits go?

For the first question, pretty much everyone from the 2018 class is on campus. The only players I haven’t seen anything on are Jailen Bailey and Adam Plant. Honestly, I wouldn’t worry as both should join the team for fall camp.

Arizona is going after the following:

Tre’Mon Morris-Brash: 4-star DE, Stephon Wright: 4-star DE, Carl Williams: 3-star DT, Sio Nofoagatoto’a: 3-star DT, Nassir Sims: 3-star DT, Maurice Gaines: 3-star CB, Logan Wilson: 3-star CB, William Nimmo: 3-star S, Brandon Joseph: 3-star S, Jaxen Turner: 3-star S, Mark Perry: 3-star S, Eddie Siaumau: 3-star S.

Finally, the weekend visits. As you can tell they went rather well. Arizona walked away with three commitments, including one of their top targets in Watson. They are also sitting well with Carl Williams and Brandon Joseph. Both officially visited this weekend as well.

From @AZWildcat4Life: It’s early, what are the opinions on the recruiting direction so far? When does Arizona start to land some players that will open some eyes? Everyone was expecting an uptick in the type of players Arizona recruits. Why haven’t we seen that? Is it because it’s still early?

The opinions are a little mixed. Some believe the class is good and has tons of potential, some have the opposite opinion.

As for landing commits that will make noise, the ‘Cats just landed one in Kwabena Watson. He had offers from USC, LSU, Oregon, and Ole Miss to name a few, but he chose UA. Also, look no further than Grant Gunnell.

To answer the third part, I think we have seen an uptick in the players UA is recruiting. If you look at who the ‘Cats have offered, they are just better quality...even the 3-stars. I personally believe that people see 3-star and automatically assume the player isn’t good. That’s why watching film has its benefit. You can see what the player can bring with current skills and the potential/upside of that player as well.

From @catsSZN: How do you think Sumlin has done so far with the class? What other recruits are you hoping he lands?

I think Sumlin is doing just fine. If he and the staff want a player to join them, there’s a reason. I trust this staff with recruiting and even developing the players they recruit. The staff is chock full of great teachers and recruiters.

As for my wishlist, any one of the following: Khyheem Waleed, Jaylen Ellis, Jalen Johnson, Elijah Higgins, T.Q. Jackson, Logan Sagapolu, Michael Lynn, Julius Buelow, Tre’Mon Morris-Brash, Stephon Wright, Carl Williams, Nassir Sims, Sio Nofoagatoto’a, Seth Robinson, Curley Young, Logan Wilson, Eddie Siaumau, William Nimmo, Jaxen Turner, Marist Liufau, Mark Perry, Dez Melton (I know it’s a lot but these are the players I feel would make the class a success).

From @jamescasillas76: Should this staff be targeting better players?

I think they already are targeting better players. Some players commit before others, some wait longer. This class has a lot of upside with the lower ranked players and I can say that wasn’t always the case with the previous staff. Patience is needed in recruiting (and following it) and can help a staff land the players they want instead of just getting bodies.


2019 Watchlist

This is a new section in the SitRep where we keep a running list of players that we believe will commit to Arizona soon or players they are doing well with. It will be updated every week.

Jalen Cropper: 4-star Athlete; 30th ranked ATH; Clovis, CA

Elijah Higgins: 4-star Wide Receiver; 17th ranked WR; Austin, TX

Tre’Mon Morris-Brash: 4-star Weakside Defensive End; 21st ranked WDE; Washington, D.C.

Stephon Wright: 4-star Strongside Defensive End; 16th ranked SDE; Los Angeles, CA

Langston Anderson: 3-star Wide Receiver; 95th ranked WR; Midlothian, TX

Bertrand Carrell: 3-star Safety; 65th ranked S; Baton Rouge, LA

Don Chapman: 3-star Wide Receiver; 237th ranked WR; San Diego, CA

Bailey Elder: 3-star Offensive Tackle; 120th ranked OT; Tacoma, WA

Jaylen Ellis: 3-star Wide Receiver; 70th ranked WR; Round Rock, TX

Maurice Gaines: 3-star Cornerback; 102nd ranked CB; Oakdale, CT

Cam’Ron Johnson: 3-star Offensive Tackle; 124th ranked OT; Pearland, TX

Brandon Joseph: 3-star Safety: 89th ranked S; College Station, TX

Michael Lynn: 3-star Offensive Tackle; 71st Ranked OT; Greenwood Village, CO

Dez Melton: 3-star Athlete; 85th ranked ATH; Glendale, AZ

William Nimmo: 3-star Safety; 63rd ranked S; Santa Ana, CA

Sio Nofoagatoto’a: 3-star Defensive Tackle; 86th ranked DT; Clearwater, FL

Mark Perry: 3-star Safety; 69th ranked S; Rancho Cucamonga, CA

Seth Robinson: 3-star Outside Linebacker; 98th ranked OLB; Scottsdale, AZ

Brayden Rohme: 3-star Offensive Tackle; 104th ranked OT; Gilbert, AZ

Chris Roland: 3-star Athlete; 151st ranked ATH; Palmdale, CA

Logan Sagapolu: 3-star Center; 4th ranked C; Lehi, UT

Eddie Siaumau: 3-star Safety; 129th ranked S; Pago Pago, AS

Nassir Sims: 3-star Defensive Tackle; 101st ranked DT; Goodyear, AZ

J.L. Skinner: 3-star Athlete; 89th ranked ATH; San Diego, CA

Jaden Tauanu’u: 3-star Outside Linebacker; 128th ranked OLB; Pittsburg, CA

Jaxen Turner: 3-star Safety; 71st ranked S; Moreno Valley, CA

Khyheem Waleed: 3-star Wide Receiver; 81st ranked WR; Queen Creek, AZ

Carl Williams: 3-star Defensive Tackle; 46th ranked DT; Lufkin, TX

Jalen Williams: 3-star Outside Linebacker; 116th ranked OLB; Phoenix, AZ

Curley Young: 3-star Outside Linebacker; 64th ranked OLB; Pflugerville, TX

Devyn Butler: 2-star Cornerback; 219th ranked CB; Allen, TX