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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona football signs 20 incoming recruits for 2018 season

Carmen Valencia
Newly hired head football coach, Kevin Sumlin, shakes hands with athletic director Dave Heeke during the press conference held this Tuesday, Jan. 16.

The Kevin Sumlin recruiting era is officially underway for the Arizona football program. After commitments from 16 players during the early signing period in December, the Wildcats added four more members to their 2018 recruiting class on Wednesday, Feb. 7, and completed a class of 20 incoming recruits. 

“This is a very balanced class with talented players on both sides of the ball,” Arizona football head coach Sumlin said in a press release. “The majority of our players signed in December, but we are excited about today’s additions to what is a group of young men that we are excited about. Our entire staff is looking forward to getting this group to campus and becoming a part of our program and our community.”

Despite the incoming class being primarily recruited by former head coach Rich Rodriguez, Sumlin was able to resume the recruiting process and secure several key players that could evolve into difference makers down the road. Leading the way were a pair of three-star quarterbacks — Kevin Doyle and Jamarye Joiner. 

Doyle, who was once committed to play at Michigan, chose the Wildcats in the aftermath of Super Bowl LII. Standing at 6-foot-4, 210 pounds, Doyle resembles a prototypical pocket-passer — something the Wildcats haven’t had since Nick Foles. 

Coincidentally, Doyle told Arizona Daily Star reporter Michael Lev that he is a lifelong, die-hard Philadelphia Eagles fan. Perhaps now the Washington, D.C. Gatorade Player of the Year could follow in Foles’ footsteps. 

Joiner, on the other hand, is built from the mold as Khalil Tate, at least skill-set wise. 

A Tucson native and product of Cienega High School, Joiner chose to pledge his allegiance to the Wildcats even after Rodriguez’s departure. The dynamic dual-threat will have the opportunity to learn from a player of Tate’s caliber, even if that means spending a season or two waiting in the wings.

Sumlin has already succeeded in bringing more depth to the roster in his short time in Tucson. Adding depth to the quarterback position was one of the Wildcats’ top priorities. Making up the rest of Arizona’s recruiting class is a handful of offensive and defensive lineman, with potential playmakers on both sides of the ball. 

Addressing a huge need up-front, Arizona’s strength and size should now be on par with other Pac-12 opponents. Two early enrollees along the defensive line, Mykee Irving and P.J. Johnson, already loom large over their teammates. Both players are 6-foot-4 and 300 pounds. The extra size should bode well for the Wildcats when they play other physical schools such as USC and Oregon.

Two more three-star defensive linemen will join the Wildcats during summer workouts, adding depth to one of the team’s weaker positions. In total, nine recruits from the 2018 class will look to contribute on defense. 

On the offensive side of the ball, Arizona inked a trio of receivers. Similar to current Wildcat Shun Brown, and former pass-catchers Nate Phillips and Samajie Grant, incoming freshman Jailen Bailey will serve the offense as a versatile threat from the slot. Aiming to assist Tate through the air, the Wildcats also added a pair of 6-foot-3 receivers; Tre Adams and Thomas Marcus should immediately compete for playing time opposite lanky wide-out Shawn Poindexter. 

A pair of three-star quarterbacks snatched the headlines, but additions to the offensive and defensive line, and the acquisition of several weapons to assist Khalil Tate on offense, should prove to reap benefits sooner rather than later.  

Follow Rob Kleifield on Twitter

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