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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona football continues to improve its recruiting classes

Rebecca Noble

Arizona football head coach Rich Rodriguez scowls inside Arizona Stadium on Sept. 19 2015.

The UA football team’s recruiting has seen significant improvement over the past two years.

The Wildcats saw a boost in recruits following their trip to the Fiesta Bowl in 2014 and the recent changes to the defensive coaching staff. The program will continue its efforts in attracting the country’s best athletes.

The recruiting class of 2016 brought in several high profile players that are expected to contribute in the near future. The class of 2017 will be no different and has the opportunity to get better by National Letter of Intent day.

Arizona currently has the 18th-ranked recruiting class for 2017, according to ESPN. The class currently has 26 committed players, which is a high number this early in the recruiting season and could continue to grow.

Listed below are some of the biggest names who have committed to the UA as of August. These are the players fans should look for next season.

Greg Johnson — Johnson is a four-star recruit out of California and the No. 1-rated athlete in the country. He has explosive play-making ability and does so from a variety of positions —playing quarterback in a spread offense, returning kicks and playing defensive back. Johnson has the kind of athleticism that makes him an instant asset to any program he ends up at. He is the only top 300 ESPN player that has committed to the UA so far. However, collecting players like this not only speaks well for next year, but also bodes well for future recruiting.

Jalen Harris — Harris is the second four-star recruit of the 2017 class and is an Arizona native. He played defensive end and wide receiver. He will need to put on weight in order to be effective at the next level but has the length and skills that could produce a defensive star for the Wildcats. He has excellent speed and a quick first step, but at 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, he will need to add weight and strength to his resume if he wants to compete at the highest levels for a power five school.

Nathan Tilford — Tilford has the kind of measurables college coaches look for. He has the power, speed and athleticism that Rich Rod and his system covet. Tilford has the kind of skills that will allow him to play a variety of positions if needed. He is another four-star recruit the UA has received a commit from and is the 36th-ranked running back in the country. Tilford has offers from some of the top football programs across America including Alabama, Michigan, Oklahoma, and USC.

Braxton Burmeister — This in an interesting recruit, because Anu Solomon and Brandon Dawkins will still have eligibility next year. Add to the mix that four-star recruit Khalil Tate will be a sophomore, and the chance of any incoming quarterback getting playing time is slim to none. Burmeister is a dual threat quarterback and has the kind of athletic ability behind center that is needed to succeed in Rich Rod’s offense. There are questions about his accuracy and touch but with one more year of high school and presumably a year to learn the UA offense he could be a factor in the future. As the 18th-ranked quarterback in the 2017 class, he has the talent to play Division I football, it’s just a matter of when.

Bryce Gilbert — Gilbert is the 13th-ranked tight end in the 2017 class, and this is a position that Arizona has not had a lot of depth at. At 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, Gilbert has the frame and the catching ability to become a deep threat down the middle for the Wildcats. Like so many incoming freshman, he will need to add weight and strength to his resume, but he has the basic skills to make an imprint during his time at the UA.

Follow Fernando Galvan on Twitter.

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