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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Rich Rod snags 2016 recruits


Jesus Barrera/Arizona Summer Wildcat

UA football coach Rich Rodriguez speaks with media after the spring scrimmage at Arizona Stadium on April 10. Rodriguez is going on his fourth season at Arizona. 

Arizona football had itself a winning Saturday this weekend, even if the season may still be over a month away.

Rich Rodriguez and his staff landed five commitments in one day as a host of recruits visited Tucson.

The headliner is Josh Allen, a four-star defensive end who plays at Long Beach City College. At 6 feet 4 inches and 260 pounds, Allen is ranked as the ninth-best junior college player in the country and No. 1 at his position according to the recruiting website

Allen, who had offers from ASU, Boise State and Louisville, among others, could conceivably come in and be a difference-maker from day one.

Since the defensive line has not been Arizona’s strongest unit on the field, Allen’s commitment is all the more important.

Two of Arizona’s five commitments on the day came from running backs. Tyliek Raynor pulled the trigger early Saturday afternoon, and JJ Taylor committed a few hours later.

That means the UA now has four running back commitments in the 2016 class. Raynor, who plays for Imhotep Institute Charter High School in Philadelphia, is listed at 5 feet 10 inches and 185 pounds. Some of his other college offers include Temple, Wake Forest and West Virginia.

With his size, Raynor will draw comparisons to Ka’Deem Carey, Arizona’s all-time leader in rushing yards and touchdowns. Like Carey, Raynor is labeled as a quick, shifty athlete who can get out of the backfield in a hurry.

Taylor, Arizona’s second running back commit of the day, is even smaller than Raynor, as he’s listed at 5 feet 6 inches and 155 pounds according to 247Sports.

Ranked as the No. 20 all-purpose back in the country, Taylor plays at powerhouse Centennial High School in Corona, Calif., where he will be expected to help carry the school to another state title this fall.

Being such a small back, Taylor may have trouble adjusting to the physicality of the college level. Then again, his close-to-the-ground play could make up for his lack of size.

Arizona picked up a commitment from another Southern California kid when wide receiver DeVaughn Cooper committed late Saturday.

Listed as a three-star athlete by 247Sports, the 5-foot-10 receiver goes to Narbonne High School in Harbor City, Calif., with another 2016 Arizona commit, running back Sean Riley.

Cooper, who had an offer from Michigan on the table, becomes the first class of 2016 wide receiver to commit. With a 40-yard dash time of 4.61, he should be the next in a long line of speedy Arizona wide-outs.

The final commitment of the day came from Gavin Robertson, a two-star safety out of Auburn Mountainview High School in Auburn, Wash.

Robertson’s commitment is noteworthy given that Rodriguez and his staff rarely pull players from the Northwest. Arizona’s current roster features a total of five athletes from Washington and Oregon.

With the five new commitments, Arizona now has 13 players’ verbals for the 2016 class. According to 247Sports, the Arizona class presently ranks 36th nationally and sixth in the Pac-12 Conference.

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