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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona football signs 25 players in 2015 class

Cecilia Alvarez
Arizona head football coach Rich Rodriguez expresses his enthusiasm to the media about the new 2015 recruiting class at Lowell Stevens football facility on Feb. 4th, 2015.

While National Signing Day is starting to almost become a national holiday with all its festivities, Arizona football head coach Rich Rodriguez praised the lack of drama for the Wildcats.

On Wednesday, the first day for 2015 recruits to sign a National Letter of Intent, Arizona welcomed a 25-player class.

Of the new Wildcats, there are 10 offensive players, 12 defensive players, three athletes and nine that enrolled this semester. The other players will start during summer school.

“A lot of these guys have been committed for quite some time,” Rodriguez said. “There was really no drama [Wednesday], probably the least amount of drama I’ve ever experienced as a head coach on National Signing Day, so it was a good day all around and we already started working on the future of course.”

Rodriguez said the Wildcats hoped to restock their offensive and defensive lines and safeties and get faster with this class.

They added five offensive linemen, four defensive linemen, two safeties and three athletes (players who don’t have a position yet).

“We had some immediate needs that we tried to fill and I think we did with this class,” Rodriguez said.

The negative about getting commitments from players early is they aren’t able to get players that develop late or show interest later, something Rodriguez said they will change next year.

“Boy I’d like to be able to sign five or six more because we I think we would have added five or six really talented guys to the class if we could have but I never worry about the ones we didn’t get, I worry about the ones we got and we got some good ones,” Rodriguez said.

As of yesterday afternoon, ESPN ranks the UA’s class 39th, 41st by Scout and Rivals and 42nd by 247 Sports.

Rodriguez wasn’t sure how meaningful rankings of high schoolers are.

“I think it’s fun for fans and I think it’s fun for media to look at recruiting rankings and all that stuff, but I think you need to rank them three years down the road and see what kind of impact that class really had,” Rodriguez said. “Nobody won a game today, but a lot of people put themselves in position to win games today and that’s what’s important to remember.”

Four star recruits running back running Orlando Bradford, defensive lineman Anthony Fotu, safety Paul Magloire (a junior college transfer) and offensive lineman Keenan Walker headline the class.

Rodriguez said the class has versatility rather than having a “gem” that stands out.

“I didn’t take a quarterback for the first time in I don’t know how long, maybe ever, as a head coach,” Rodriguez said. “But we’ll take one next year and the year after that, probably every year after that.”

The class features four from Louisiana, including three from Shreveport, La., where the Wildcats beat Boston College 42-19 in the 2013 AdvoCare V100 Bowl. The class features four players from Arizona, including Magloire who played at Arizona Western College but is from Florida.

Rodriguez said they don’t normally recruit much that far but if they are willing to pay for their own unofficial visit, they become more attractive. Associate head coach/co-offensive coordinator/running backs coach Calvin Magee recruited Louisiana.

“They wanted to visit, they were sincere in their interest and Cal did a good job recruiting them,” Rodriguez said. “It just happened that way.”

Rodriguez said location of the AdvoCare V100 Bowl win didn’t have much impact on their decisions but that in the next year or so the Pac-12 South championship and Fiesta Bowl appearance will help recruiting.

“I think being in a bowl game and being on TV and being a program that’s talked about, makes a bigger impact more than anything else,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez said that while 85 scholarships sounds like a lot, depth is vital, especially when they play 12 games in a row next year without a bye.

“We’re the only one in the Power Five Conferences that has, so if the folks in the Pac-12 are listening, I’m not going to say anything to get fined, but I don’t know how that happens,” Rodriguez said. “To play 12 straight with no open date at this level? You better have a lot of guys that are ready to play.”

Neal switches to defense

Junior to be DaVonte’ Neal is on the move again, to the other side of the ball.

Neal, who was fifth on the team in receiving and was the Arizona’s primary punt returner, asked Rodriguez on Wednesday if he can switch from receiver to cornerback.

“We need some help in the secondary and he wants to play over there,” said Rodriguez, who also said Neal could still play offense.

As a senior in high school Neal skipped his own press conference to announce what school he was going to and then picked Notre Dame over Arizona. After his freshman year, he transferred to the UA.


Follow James Kelley on Twitter.

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