TUCSON — Marquis Flowers was the high school headliner in Arizona’s most recent recruiting class. And he’s showing early in fall camp that there was something to all those rankings and honors.
“I think his potential is unlimited,” coach Mike Stoops said after Friday’s practice.
Arizona reached into the Phoenix area to pluck Flowers from Goodyear’s Millennium High School, where he was an all-purpose star and the nation’s 23rd-best safety, according to Scout.com. In addition to his work on defense at Millennium, Flowers rushed for 1,247 yards and 16 touchdowns as a senior.
“I don’t think there is anything he can’t do on a football field,” Stoops said.
“He is one of the most polished players I’ve seen at this stage. He has a long way to go, just learning his position on the field, but he will definitely be a factor in our plans.”
Flowers, who is 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds, was the top prospect in the state in some recruiting circles. So it was a big deal for Arizona to corral him, especially after seeing many of the state’s best in recent years head to USC (Devon Kennard, Everson Griffen, Kristofer O’Dowd).
Flowers will have a chance to immediately work his way into the rotation at strong safety and nickelback.
“It’s just his physical nature,” Stoops said. “And his size, his speed, his athleticism, his ability to cover. He’s a big guy. There is really nothing he can’t do that you want a safety or a nickelback to do.
“The hard part is just understanding concepts and all the adjustments. We still have three and a half weeks or so. We’ll have him ready. I don’t know what his role will be yet, but we’ll continue to give him work with the ones or twos.”
Although Flowers was the player Stoops talked about after practice, he raved about the entire recruiting class.
“It’s far and away, I think, our most diverse class and probably our best class we’ve had since we’ve been here,” said Stoops, entering his seventh season.
Elsewhere at camp:
— In the wake of the summer transfer of suspended fifth-year senior Delashaun Dean, David Douglas has been moved from inside receiver to outside receiver and is a potential starter. “Inside, you’re finding holes. Outside, it’s more of a one-on-one deal, which I like,” he said of the different positions.
— Senior Mike Turner, vying for a backup spot at cornerback, intercepted a Nick Foles pass near the sideline late in the practice and returned it for a touchdown. Turner’s bright spot at Arizona came last season when he recovered a muffed punt late in the Arizona State game, which led to the Wildcats’ game-winning field goal on the final play.
— Offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh said the knee injury suffered by starting left guard Conan Amituanai on Thursday is not believed to be serious. Stoops said Thursday that Amituanai might be out a couple of weeks.