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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Pac-12 divisional alignment huge for Wildcats recruiting

Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat

The No. 15 Arizona Wildcats hosted the Washington Huskies in a Pacific 1o Conference matchup Saturday, Oct. 23, 2010 at Arizona Stadium in Tucson, Ariz. The Wildcats rolled to a 44-14 behind backup quarterback Matt Scott.
Mike Christy
Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat The No. 15 Arizona Wildcats hosted the Washington Huskies in a Pacific 1o Conference matchup Saturday, Oct. 23, 2010 at Arizona Stadium in Tucson, Ariz. The Wildcats rolled to a 44-14 behind backup quarterback Matt Scott.

The future Pacific 12 Conference divisional alignment couldn’t have worked out better for Arizona.

The television deals and revenue prospects are huge. But the biggest benefit that comes from playing in a division with schools like UCLA and USC?

Recruiting.

Southern California is a hotbed for top-notch recruits in both the football and basketball realms, so staying connected and relevant to these future star athletes is a must.

More games in California means more exposure for Arizona. Young athletes can now head to a UCLA or USC game, see the Wildcats program and say ‘I want to play for Arizona.’

But most importantly, recruiters can now sell the prospect’s parents on seeing their Golden Child play near home every year.

California family members can head down to Westwood or Los Angeles to see their kid take on the Trojans or Bruins. Or mommy and daddy can even make the six-hour drive to Tucson to see their star athlete play in McKale Center or at Arizona Stadium.

Family members certainly won’t be able to make the trek to Eugene, Ore., or Seattle, Wash., and the Ducks and Huskies will only play at either UCLA or USC once every two years.

So while the Wildcats now have a window into California’s best, Oregon, Oregon State, Washington and Washington State are now on the outside looking in from the North division.

And the other two members of the South division – Utah and Colorado – don’t have the draw and intrigue of a program like Arizona, not to mention that they’re farther geographically.

History will still repeat itself and the Wildcats will lose recruits to UCLA and USC, but Arizona is on the rise as a program. And those winning ways along with the new SoCal ties equal more and more ballers in Tucson.

It’s all about exposure, and Arizona will be seen and heard through the Golden State more than ever.

When asked how important the alignment is to recruiting, Arizona outside receivers coach Dave Nichol answered, “”Real important. There are a lot of guys in that area that I recruit and hopefully they’ll get tickets through UCLA and come cheer for us.””

As Nichol mentioned, Arizona has a ton of SoCal products already.

The basketball team features Kyle Fogg, Solomon Hill, Jamelle Horne, Alex Jacobson, Jordin Mayes and Derrick Williams all hailing from California.

And the football team has Ricky Elmore, Robert Golden, Nic Grigsby, Joe Perkins, Shaquille Richardson, David Roberts and Matt Scott, just to name a few.

“”Our kids have a lot of connections up there,”” Nichol said. “”That’s a big part too is players helping. Some of our guys do (a) great job spreading the word. Out in LA, my boy Robert (Golden) up in Fresno.””

The current California connection, coupled with the future California connection that comes along with playing in the South division means big things for Arizona recruiting.

Parents can watch their kids play more often, and more games in the Golden State means more exposure for Arizona.

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