The dead period continues on the recruiting trail and that means things are slow for the Arizona Wildcats.
UA did have three targets announce their commitments in the past two days. Arizona was on all three shortened lists, however, all three ended up picking other schools.
This week we will take a look at the corners for Arizona and the future of the position. We also caught up with an in-state prospect to discuss his recruitment.
Let’s get to it in this week’s SitRep.
Jalen Williams, ATH
Williams is a versatile athlete who plays at Shadow Mountain in Phoenix. He can plays safety, linebacker, and receiver for his the Matadors. That versatility has given him 11 offers from college programs, to include Arizona. He stated that most of his offers were at safety which makes sense for his size.
He hasn’t focused too much on football this offseason as of yet since he’s been playing basketball. He is slowly starting to transition his focus as the summer wears on. He has not, and will not, participate in any camps and is instead focusing on staying healthy. He visited Tucson in April but hasn't taken any others. He will be looking to take more as the summer moves on into fall.
He did enjoy his trip to Arizona and had a great feeling from the staff. He did run into them again at a camp at Northern Arizona (he did not participate in the camp). He hasn’t spoken with them since and is hoping to hear more from UA.
Returners: Lorenzo Burns, Jace Whittaker, Tony Wallace, Malcolm Holland, Sammy Morrison
Returning Redshirts: Malik Hausman, Azizi Hearn
Losses: Isaiah Strong
Newcomers: Jhevon Hill, McKenzie Barnes
Returner Notes: Burns and Whittaker established themselves last year as some of the best corners in the Pac-12. They will look to build on their impressive 2017 campaigns in 2018.
Behind them is interesting. Wallace is probably one of the best athletes on the roster and had a strong spring and a great showing in the spring game. It is highly possible that he will challenge for a starting spot, but without a doubt, he will be playing more than just special teams this season. Holland is another solid option and does have conference experience. He is a former baseball player but decided to come back to school and football. Morrison, who has had some flashes of brilliance, has kind of hit a crossroads. Injuries have derailed his career and this year feels like it’s his last chance to show what he can do.
Redshirt Notes: I was excited when Hausman announced his commitment to Arizona in 2017. He was well on his way to being a great corner in college after a great junior year at Bishop Gorman High School. Then he suffered a freak knee injury that caused him to miss his senior season in high school. He redshirted last year and I’m interested to see if he’ll be back to his old self.
Hearn is a walk-on from the same high school as Whittaker, Oceanside High. He redshirted his freshman year and from what I understand he has made some noise. It is possible that he can see time on the field, even if it means just on special teams.
Newcomer Notes: The ‘Cats bring in Hill and Barnes, who are both over 6 feet. They are both rangy, talented corners who have a knack for making plays on the football. I think both will come in and start challenging for playing time right away. However, I can see both taking advantage of the new redshirt rule and get some in-game experience during their first year in the program.
Moving on, we will take a look at who the Wildcats are targeting at corner for the current class.
Maurice Gaines, 3-star
6-foot-2/185 pounds/St. Thomas More School (Oakdale, CT)
Unable to find any career stats
Gaines transferred out to the East Coast from Folsom in Northern California. Because of his California background, Demetrice Martin has a previous relationship with him. His recruitment has picked up a little as he is now sitting at 13 offers. Arizona is joined by Oregon State, Indiana, Syracuse, Fresno State, and San Diego State to name a few.
He is a decent corner who has above average coverage skills. He has pretty good eye discipline which allows him to make plays on the ball. He can add some more weight to his frame and needs to be a little more consistent in wrapping up the ball carrier. He does play with a ton of aggression for a corner, which I like. This is a prospect to keep an eye on.
Logan Wilson, 3-star
5-foot-11/170 pounds/Bishop Dunne High School (Dallas, TX)
Career Stats (17 games): 39 tackles, 2.0 TFL, 3 INT, 4 PBU, 1 forced fumble
Wilson was committed to Arizona but recently backed off his pledge. But he is still a priority for Arizona and is still considering the ‘Cats. As of now he holds nine offers. Arizona, Iowa, UTEP, UTSA, and Toledo are some of his offers. Schools like Nebraska and TCU are starting to get involved.
I like Wilson’s game. He is one of the most instinctive cover corners I’ve seen in some time. He is underrated in my opinion and I feel that he’ll garner more attention as his senior season starts. He is a tad undersized weight-wise but has been working on gaining more muscle.
Cameron Stephens, 3-star
5-foot-11/165 pounds/Cajon High School (San Bernardino, CA)
Career Stats (10 games): 24 tackles, 2 INT, 4 PBU
Stephens just picked up his offer from Arizona on July 4, but Demetrice Martin has been tracking him for some time. He was part of a loaded secondary at Rancho Cucamonga High last season before transferring to Cajon. He sits at seven offers and it’s an interesting list. He has Arizona, Nebraska, and Florida as his Power Five offers. The rest include Nevada, New Mexico, San Jose State, and Colorado State.
I like what Stephens brings to the field. He is physical for his size and has good reaction time. He can play press, but honestly, I like him better playing off and back. I feel that allows him to fully use his skillset. Plus he has the closing speed needed to play that style. He also plays with awareness of his surroundings (what the quarterback and receiver are doing) and even has the speed to keep up with receivers down the field. He strikes me as another underrated cover corner. Stephens is someone to keep an eye on as his recruitment unfolds.
Isaiah Jernagin, 3-star
5-foot-10/172 pounds/Bakersfield High School (Bakersfield, CA)
Career Stats (21 games): 41 tackles, 1.0 TFL, 3 INT, 7 PBU
Jernagin has had a relatively slow recruitment and that may have to do with his size (which I’ll discuss below). He holds only four offers, with Arizona his only one from a Power Five team. His other 3 are from Nevada, Montana State, and Northern Iowa.
As mentioned above I believe his size is his biggest “limiting” factor. Even then he doesn’t let him limit him. He hits bigger than he is and plays extremely aggressive. He flies to the ball, impacts with some force, and wraps up the ball carrier. He has quick-twitch abilities and that allows him to react to a play quickly. Arizona is doing well in this recruitment and he should be someone to watch as things unfold.
Devyn Butler, 2-star
5-foot-10/175 pounds/Allen High School (Allen, TX)
Unable to find career stats
Butler was offered by Arizona while on an unofficial visit during the spring. The ‘Cats join Air Force and Penn as his offers. He is someone the ‘Cats like and he likes what he is hearing from them.
He doesn’t have much film and it’s a pretty small sample size of he brings to the field. He does have speed and aggression and he plays bigger than his size. He does need to work on his tackling. Overall, he does have a lot to work on as he is a raw corner prospect. As mentioned above, UA is doing well with him.
From @jamescasillas76: Do you think upgrading our facilities and making an indoor facility will attract recruits and make them think differently when they visit?
I do think it will help. Prospects are already impressed when they come on campus. They usually don’t know what to expect and come away impressed. But I think the indoor facility will appeal to the men in the trenches the most. I do want to say that even with the current facilities, Arizona has been successful when players visit. But having an indoor facility next to Lowell-Stevens Football Facility can’t hurt.
Overall facility and stadium upgrades will benefit fans the most.
From @weslo1875: Who do you think our next commit will be with what you know? Also, assuming we land at least one more 4-star player this class, who would you say that player will be?
Oh man, that first question is tough. I will go with 3-star safety Brandon Joseph out of College Station, Texas. He just recently dropped a Top 3 on Wednesday evening. Arizona, Northwestern, and Texas Tech are the schools, with the Red Raiders being the biggest competition for Arizona. He visited the same weekend that Arizona landed Kane Bradford, Kwabena Watson, and Derrion Clark. The visit went well and Arizona has always had buzz when his name has been mentioned.
As for the second question, I’m going with Stephon Wright. Out of the 4-star prospects UA is doing well with, he sticks out to me. When he visited Tucson this spring, he couldn’t believe how nice the campus and city were. He has said numerous times that he wants to visit Arizona officially later this year. If that happens, expect the staff to push for a commitment.
From @RV30B: Arizona closes well when we get recruits on campus. What adjustments are being made by this staff to bring them to campus?
I’m not sure I’d call it an adjustment but the staff is aggressive in pursuing players they want. Whether that’s getting them out for a visit, a commitment, or just general recruiting them, they are way more aggressive. They also know how to recruit, that can’t be overstated.
As for Arizona’s success when it comes to visits, UA has always had the tools needed (campus, city, scenery, education, environment, etc) to close. It was about how effectively the staff (old and new) use them. The new staff is successful, the old staff was too. The biggest part is to get players out for visits, then UA is able to make its mark on players.
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; 27th ranked ATH; Clovis, CA
Elijah Higgins: 4-star Wide Receiver; 17th ranked WR; Austin, TX
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
Don Chapman: 3-star Safety; 245th ranked S; San Diego, CA
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
Brandon Joseph: 3-star Safety: 84th ranked S; College Station, 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