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Football recruiting SitRep: On Arizona’s future at safety, 2019 targets, and more

Let’s take a look at the final position group on the defense

NCAA Football: Arizona at California Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

The 2019 summer period continues rolling along and that means there’s some clarity for the Arizona Wildcats.

Multiple prospects have trimmed their lists or made commitments. This includes numerous safety targets. With that, we’ll take a look at UA’s remaining safety targets, plus the outlook of the position for the upcoming season.

We’ll also cover recent 2018 cycle news, plus some reader questions.

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

Adam Plant, DE

Late Monday night, the Wildcats received some news that probably wasn’t shocking to the staff, but did catch myself and others off guard. Adam Plant’s father said his son won’t be attending the University of Arizona, and instead will pursue the JuCo route.

Plant had been dealing with some academic issues since Signing Day. However, UA and Plant were working to solve the issues as much as they could. All signs were pointing in a positive direction until the news broke that he would not be playing for the ‘Cats.

Gabe Encinas and I will be delving into this topic a little more in depth on our upcoming podcast.


Returners: Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles, Jarrius Wallace, Chacho Ulloa, Scottie Young Jr., Tristan Cooper

Returning Redshirts: Isaiah Hayes, Xavier Bell, Rhedi Short, Blake Pfaff

Losses: Dane Cruikshank, Jarvis McCall Jr., Anthony Mariscal (moved to RB), Troy Young (moved to LB), Devon Brewer

Newcomers: Dayven Coleman, Christian Young, Antonio Parks (moved from CB)

Returner Notes: Safety is probably Arizona’s deepest position group. Flannigan-Fowles is the most experienced safety and is looking to bounce back from a disappointing junior season. He is the expected starter at the Bandit position. Jarrius Wallace burst onto the scene and impressed last season after starting some games mid-season. He is aggressive but plays incredibly smart. I expect him to earn the starting spot at free safety. Tristan Cooper is someone who played well during his true freshman season, but had more of a backup role last year with Dane Cruikshank taking the reigns at Spur. Cooper is the favorite to win the nod at Spur and I expect him to continue the production he had as a freshman.

Moving to the guys behind the starters, we get to someone who’s been with the program for awhile. Chacho Ulloa came to the program highly touted, but just hasn’t been put in a situation that suits his playing style. I feel like that is about to change. He should be able to solidify his spot as backup to DFF at Bandit. Finally we get to Scottie Young. He had some off-the-field issues last season but managed to continue to contribute as a starter at free safety. He was suspended for spring ball so he will have to climb the depth chart.

Redshirt Notes: We’ll start with Isaiah Hayes. The aggressive free safety played well and, at times, with reckless abandon. That kind of playing style is good, but can be detrimental when it lands him on the sideline with an injury. Prior to the 2017 season, Hayes went down with a shoulder injury and had surgery to correct it. He will be coming back this season and is in position to be the No. 2 at free safety. Xavier Bell and Rhedi Short have both been making noise since arriving to campus. Bell will most likely be the backup at Spur while Short is versatile enough to bounce between all three positions.

Newcomer Notes: Moving on to the new faces for the group, we find someone who isn’t so new to the team. Antonio Parks made the move from corner to safety about midway through spring ball and it is actually a good move. He projects better at Spur but can also play free safety.

As for the freshmen, Dayven Coleman is someone who has the versatility to play safety or linebacker. I like him better at Bandit but can see him moving down in some packages, adding some pass coverage to the middle layer of the field. Christian Young was a straight ballhawk in high school. Young was a steal for the ‘Cats and also brings flexibility with him to Tucson. He is someone who can play all three safety positions but I see him fitting in better at Spur.

2019 Targets

Safety is always going to be a position that Arizona will be looking to add at least one player every cycle. For 2019, I can see the ‘Cats adding two players max, with one player having the versatility to play corner as well. Let’s take a look at the players UA is pursuing.

Jaxen Turner, 3-star

6-foot-2/175 pounds/Rancho Verde High School (Moreno Valley, CA)

Career Stats (27 games): 138 tackles, 6.0 TFL, 16 INT, 11 PBU, 2 fumble recoveries

We’ll start with the player who is the priority for Arizona at the position. Turner is an interception machine. During his sophomore season he had 10, yes 10, picks. As a junior, he had six. Turner is freakishly athletic and plays at an incredible speed. His vision and decision making abilities make him extremely effective in coverage. In fact, He’s probably one of the better coverage safeties I’ve seen and high points the ball better than some receivers. Turner has the versatility to play either safety or corner at the next level. He could fit in as a Spur or free safety in Arizona’s defense.

On the recruiting side he is up to 13 offers but just recently cut his list down to an all Pac-12 five. Arizona is joined by Arizona State, California, Utah, and Oregon State on Turner’s shortened list. It will be a battle for the ‘Cats, as the Golden Bears are the biggest competition up to this point.

William Nimmo Jr., 3-star

6-foot-1/190 pounds/Mater Dei High School (Santa Ana, CA)

Career Stats (17 games): 34 tackles, 3.0 TFL, 5 PBU

We’ll now take a look at a member of the talented secondary of SoCal powerhouse Mater Dei. Make no mistake, Nimmo is a priority for the ‘Cats. He, too, has the versatility to play both corner and safety, but projects better at safety. He is an aggressive, physical, and hard-hitting player who has solid tackling technique. He has a knack for making plays on the ball and will only get better in that aspect of his game this upcoming season. His skillset would fit perfectly as a Bandit safety in Arizona’s defense.

Nimmo recently trimmed down his 15 offers to six, with Arizona making the cut. California, Florida, Oregon State, UCLA, and Washington State join the ‘Cats on his shortened list. When it comes to the biggest competition for UA, California and UCLA are the other programs mentioned the most with his recruitment.

Noa Pola-Gates, 4-star

6-foot-2/180 pounds/Williams Field High School (Gilbert, AZ)

Career Stats (22 games): 108 tackles, 2.0 TFL, 5 INT, 6 PBU, 1 fumble recovery

Pola-Gates is one of the best players in the state and someone Arizona has been pursuing for some time. They were the first school to offer the talented DB and since then he has blown up. He recently trimmed his list down to 10 schools: Arizona, Alabama, Arizona State, Michigan State, Nebraska, Oregon, Oregon State, Penn State, Texas, and USC. That is quite the company for Arizona to be in.

Right now, the feeling is more Alabama or USC for Pola-Gates’ services but Arizona is going to give it a try. He has already been on campus a few times and that can never hurt.

As for his game, Pola-Gates brings a ton of aggression. He is a headhunter and loves contact. He also has the awareness to make plays on the ball at a high rate. He would be a solid fit at Spur or free safety in Arizona’s defense.

Chris Roland, 3-star

6-foot/180 pounds/William Knight High School (Palmdale, CA)

Career Stats (19 games): 72 tackles, 2.5 TFL, 9 INT, 7 PBU, 1 fumble recovery

We’ll now move on to a player I spoke with recently. Roland is making his way through the recruiting process and his currently sitting at six offers: Arizona, Wyoming, Oregon State, Nevada, New Mexico, and San Jose State. He is hitting up the camp circuit pretty hard this summer and it really wouldn’t be surprising to see his list grow. He has a great relationship with Demetrice Martin and right now I’m comfortable saying that Arizona leads for him for the time being.

Roland isn’t the flashiest player, but he has a great skillset. He is incredibly athletic, which allows him to make plays on both sides of the ball. I like him as a receiver but the more I watch his film, the more I like him as a DB too. As a receiver he appears more comfortable, but you can tell his comfort level is rising on defense. He has great hands and quick-twitch reaction that allows him to make plays on the ball.


Eddie Siaumau, 3-star

6-foot-2/221 pounds/Leone High School (Pago Pago, American Samoa)

Unable to find career stats

We’ll round out the targets with the multi-position talent from American Samoa. He holds three offers: Arizona, Idaho State, and Virginia Union. He visited Tucson while he was in-state visiting his family. He has a good relationship with the Davy Gnodle and Iona Uiagalelei and loved his visit. The thing that stood out the most while on campus was the coaching staff. He loved the honesty and feel of the coaches and that catapulted the ‘Cats to a good spot with him.

Siaumau’s size and skill-set are similar to Arizona signee Dayven Coleman. They both are roughly the same size, have aggressiveness in their game, and project as hybrid safety/linebackers at the next level. Siaumau has great awareness and ball skills which serve him well in coverage. The toughness he plays with makes him difficult to arm tackle and physical presence on the field. His aggressiveness allows him to play the run well and he is a very capable and solid tackler, actually wrapping up the ball-carrier.

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.

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

Drake Jackson: 4-star Weakside Defensive End; 20th ranked WDE; Corona, CA

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

Langston Anderson: 3-star Wide Receiver; 93rd ranked WR; Midlothian, TX

Bertrand Carrell: 3-star Safety; 60th ranked S; Baton Rouge, LA

Bailey Elder: 3-star Offensive Tackle; 77th ranked OT; Tacoma, WA

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

Maurice Gaines: 3-star Cornerback; 105th ranked CB; Oakdale, CT

Cam’Ron Johnson: 3-star Offensive Tackle; 131st ranked OT; Pearland, TX

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

Dez Melton: 3-star Athlete; 84th ranked ATH; Glendale, AZ

Tre’Mon Morris-Brash: 3-star Weakside Defensive End; 32nd ranked WDE; Washington, D.C.

William Nimmo: 3-star Safety; 59th ranked S; Santa Ana, CA

Seth Robinson: 3-star Outside Linebacker; 100th ranked OLB; Scottsdale, AZ

Brayden Rohme: 3-star Offensive Tackle; 105th ranked OT; Gilbert, AZ

Chris Roland: 3-star Athlete; 155th ranked ATH; Palmdale, CA

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

Eddie Siaumau: 3-star Safety; 133rd ranked S; Pago Pago, AS

Nassir Sims: 3-star Defensive Tackle; 104th ranked DT; Goodyear, AZ

J.L. Skinner: 3-star Athlete; 100th ranked ATH; San Diego, CA

Jaden Tauanu’u: 3-star Outside Linebacker; 132nd ranked OLB; Pittsburg, CA

Jaxen Turner: 3-star Safety; 67th ranked S; Moreno Valley, CA

Khyheem Waleed: 3-star Wide Receiver; 80th ranked WR; Queen Creek, AZ

Jalen Williams: 3-star Outside Linebacker; 115th ranked OLB; Phoenix, AZ

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

Devyn Butler: 2-star Cornerback; 238th ranked CB; Allen, TX