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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    New recruits fill positions across field

    Arizona football fans hope the 2006 recruting class will enable them to see more scenes like this one following the Cats Nov. 5 52-14 victory over UCLA.
    Arizona football fans hope the 2006 recruting class will enable them to see more scenes like this one following the Cats’ Nov. 5 52-14 victory over UCLA.

    On Wednesday’s Signing Day, the Arizona football team announced its 2006 recruiting class: 22 athletes of varying caliber all expected to help the Wildcats take a step forward after consecutive 3-8 seasons.

    What follows is a brief breakdown of how each position in the class could contribute this fall, with anticipated impact players singled out.


    Arizona picked up only one prep signal-caller in Newhall, Calif.’s Tyler Lyon. Blessed with ideal height and good arm strength, he completed 57 percent of his passes for 5,390 yards and 43 touchdowns over his last two seasons for William S. Hart High School.

    Tyler Lyon
    6’5″” 215 lbs.
    Newhall, Calif.
    William S. Hart HS
    Scout’s take: “”If you get QBs of the caliber of Tuitama and Lyon every year, you don’t need more than one.”” – Josh Gershon, senior writer for recruting site

    With at least three athletes ahead of him on the depth chart entering spring workouts, Arizona head coach Mike Stoops has said Lyon will take the full 2006 season to develop, a luxury not utilized by freshman starter Willie Tuitama last year.

    Running back

    With the graduation of four-year contributor Mike Bell, who left as the fifth-leading rusher in Arizona history, both of the team’s top incoming running backs could see field time in the fall.

    Running backs
    Derke Robinson
    6’0″” 200 lbs.
    Lewisville, Texas
    Hebron HS
    Scout’s take: “”He’s got tremendous vision. Not a guy who’s going to blow by you, but he’s got great skill on the field.”” – Gershon
    Glyndon Bolasky
    6’0″” 192 lbs.
    Sabino HS
    Key stat: 1,775 yards, 25 touchdowns last season

    The more highly touted, Derke Robinson of Lewisville, Texas, brings size and decent wheels (4.65 40-yard dash). Stoops said he could rise quickly in a backfield full of question marks. Speedy Sabino High School product Glyndon Bolasky (4.40 40-yard dash) was named the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year.


    Over the past few seasons, Arizona has kept its fullback’s duties limited to run blocking. Pedro Limon didn’t register a carry last season in support of Bell, graduated senior Gilbert Harris and will-be redshirt junior Chris Henry.

    That could change with the arrival of Houston’s Earl Mitchell. Stoops gushed about his versatility, saying he could also play at either tight end or as a pass-receiving halfback. He may immediately assume Limon’s blocking assignments.

    Tight end

    Arizona hauled in four athletes projected to play at tight end, tied for the most at any position. Each brings good size and the pass-catching potential to replace the impending graduation of will-be senior Brad Wood (team-leading six touchdown receptions in 2005) a year from now.

    Tight Ends
    Conan Amituanai
    6’4″”, 280 lbs.
    Long Beach, Calif.
    Polytechnic HS
    Key stat:Nabbed two touchdowns among his seven receptions at tight end last season
    Cody Anderson
    6’4″” 280 lbs.
    Apache Junction Apache Junction HS
    Key stat: Had 572 receiving yards and seven touchdowns his senior year
    A.J. Simmons
    6’4″” 245 lbs.
    Oakland, Calif. Bishop O’Dowd HS
    Key stat: Had 11 receptions for 215 yards and five touchdowns as senior

    Two of the players, Conan Amituanai (defensive tackle) and A.J. Simmons (defensive end), have experience playing on the defensive line. Either could be moved there if the team lacks depth in the unit for the second straight year.

    Wide receiver

    One of the position’s smallest men enjoyed its biggest success last season, as 6-foot sparkplug Mike Thomas set Arizona freshman records for receptions (52) and yards (771), leading the Wildcats in both categories.

    Wide receivers
    Terrell Turner
    6’0″” 175 lbs.
    Garland, Texas
    Lakeview Centennial HS
    Coach’s take: “”He is a possession-type kid. We also could use him as our speed guy. Just an overall playmaker.”” – Jeff Riordan, Lakeview Centennial wide receivers coach
    Terrell Reese
    6’4″” 192 lbs.
    Texas Hendrickson HS
    Coach’s take: “”He’s always going from football to basketball to track, one after the other. Once you start narrowing it down, put him through some offseason (work) and stuff, where he’s doing something year-round, his potential is limitless.”” – Dwayne Weirich, Hendrickson head coach.

    The team addressed its lack of quality size by bringing in three touted athletes who measure 6 feet or taller. Two of them, leapers Terrell Reese and Delashaun Dean, bring obvious athleticism, while Garland, Texas, native Terrell Turner may be the most game-ready come fall. He may challenge for a starting spot opposite Thomas.

    Offensive line

    Stoops said the Wildcats will count on its 2005 recruits to shore up the offensive line this season, as the team introduced only three prep newcomers.

    Offensive line
    Jovon Hayes (G)
    6’2″” 320 lbs.
    Los Angeles
    Susan Miller Dorsey HS
    Coach’s take: “”This is a guy, you put a couple more inches on him, he’s a five-star recruit.”” – Gershon
    James Tretheway (T)
    6’6″” 300 lbs.
    San Francisco
    San Mateo CC
    Key stat: No. 14 on SuperPrep’s Juco 100 list after 2005 season
    Cam Nelson (CB/S)
    6’1″” 175 lbs.
    Dallas, Texas
    Kimball High School
    Key stat: Named first-team community-college All-America selection last season

    Still, the team captured a clear jewel in Los Angeles native Jovon Hayes, whose bulk should make him a starting candidate. A fourth player, mammoth community-college transfer James Tretheway, has already enrolled at Arizona and should see significant time on the line this fall.

    Defensive line

    The fortunes reaped from this position will depend on the still-undetermined statuses of junior-college transfers Louis Holmes and Gabe Long. Both players were among the first to sign national letters of intent with the Wildcats (along with Tretheway), yet have not enrolled. As a result, neither player will participate in spring practices.

    Defensive Line
    Louis Holmes (DE)
    6’5″” 270 lbs.
    Scottsdale CC
    Key stat: Ranked No. 1 on Rivals’ list of junior-college recruits
    Gabe Long (DT)
    6’3″” 285 lbs.
    Fullerton, Calif.
    Fullerton College
    Key stat: Two time all conference selection

    According to a story in Thursday’s Arizona Daily Star, the players can now choose to enroll at whatever school they want to attend, including Arizona, but cannot do so until the summer.


    The Wildcats hit the jackpot when recruiting Web site No. 4 cornerback prospect Devin Ross elected to play for Arizona over Oregon and Southern California. He should ensure more of a quality transition at the position as Antoine Cason and Wilrey Fontenot prepare for their junior seasons.

    Devin Ross
    5’11″” 180 lbs.
    Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
    Rancho Cucamonga HS
    Coach’s take: “”I think he’s one of the best guys out there. To recruit a player that highly rated … I’m excited about him.”” – Stoops
    Nate Ness (S)
    6’2″” 180 lbs.
    Torrance, Calif.
    El Camino College
    Key stat: No. 14 on SuperPrep’s Juco 100 list after 2005 season
    Cam Nelson (CB/S)
    6’1″” 175 lbs.
    Dallas, Texas
    Kimball High School
    Key stat: Intercepted nine passes to go along with 63 tackles and three forced fumbles as a senior

    Stoops said establishing depth in the secondary was one of the team’s primary goals in assembling its recruits, especially with the loss of graduated senior Darrell Brooks, who led the team in tackles in 2005. Community college transfer Nate Ness could replace him in the short term with Cam Nelson locked in for a year or two down the road.

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