Arizona class fills need for speed

Arizona class fills need for speed

Published Feb. 4, 2015 9:29 p.m. ET

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Rich Rodriguez got exactly what his Arizona program needed with the 2015 recruiting class: speed and needs. It fits right into his no-huddle, come-right-at-you offense and desire to improve on defense.

"I think we're a little faster and a little bit more athletic all across the board," Rodriguez said at his press conference Wednesday to discuss the recruiting class. "The last couple of recruiting classes aren't bad either. It's hard to judge right now."

Early judgment came in as rated Arizona's 23-member class as the 41st best in the counrt and eighth best in the Pac-12 Conference. It began the day ranked 37th.  

"It's fun for fans and media to look at rankings and all that but you need to rank them a few years down the road and see what impact that class really had," Rodriguez said. "Nobody won a game today. But a lot of people put themselves in a position to win games. That's what is important to remember."


Arizona signed one top 100 player, two four-star players and 18 three-star players among others.

In all, Rodriguez said he was pleased with the class on a day without drama, because most already committed to Arizona months ago and stuck to those commitments. It was, in fact, "the least amount of drama" Rodriguez experienced since he's been a coach.

"It's a good day all the way around," Rodriguez said.

He didn't bite when asked to name the class' centerpiece, saying it was like choosing between his son and daughter. They're all special., however, rates 6-foot-5, 282-pound offensive tackle Keenan Walker as Arizona's highest recruit at 82 nationally and the lone Wildcats recruit in the top 100. He played at Scottsdale Chaparral.

"He's been one of the best linemen in the state, not just this past year but in past years," Rodriguez said of Walker, who suffered a knee injury in a recent all-star game. Rodriguez said he wasn't sure if he'd be available in the fall. "At some point he's going to be a real good player at Arizona and dominant player in the future."

He did mention junior college transfers Paul Magloire (safety), Matt Morin (tight end) and Anthony Fotu (defensive line) who could have an immediate impact.

"They've got to put the work in," Rodriguez said.

Specifically to Magloire, a talented athlete and former quarterback, Rodriguez said "he's got a certain personality and love for football you want everyone to have."

Rodriguez signed 25 players -- he wished he could have signed another five -- and they included 10 offensive players, 12 defensive players and three athletes,

What he didn't sign was a quarterback in what said was the first time ever as a head coach.

"That was a bit different but we will take one next year ...," he said, "the year after that and the year after that."

He did fill needs on the offensive and defensive lines and signed some safeties.

By having so many commit early -- way before on in the middle of Arizona's improbable run to a Pac-12 title and eventual Fiesta Bowl appearance -- it created a situation where Rodriguez wished he could have signed more, but couldn't because of scholarship limits. Instead, the past year's success will be felt in the 2016 recruiting class.

"In the future we're going to have to save two or three spots for guys who are seniors who develop late or show interest later than they had," Rodriguez said. "That's a matter of (him) making sure the (scholarship) numbers stay right."

What helps Rodriguez is -- as always -- he continued to go after possible two-way players, someone like current player DaVonte' Neal, who requested earlier on Wednesday to move to cornerback in order to play more.

He'll be competing with signee Sammy Morrison, a 5-11, 170-pound cornerback who is the son of former Arizona player Darryl Morrison, who played for Dick Tomey in 1991-92.

"Talk about a bright-eyed (kid), who is excited to be a Wildcat and part of the Wildcat family it's Sammy and his family," Rodriguez said. "It was a natural to recruit him."

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