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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Wins translate to multiple commitments for UA football

    With winning usually comes excitement, and for the Arizona football team, this season is no different.

    Following the Wildcats’ big 42-27 win over then-No. 25 California Saturday night, Arizona not only gained a slew of bandwagon fans, but also two strong verbal commitments for 2009.

    After witnessing the Wildcats’ victory Saturday in person, highly-recruited defensive back Marcus Benjamin, who attends Arizona Western College in Yuma, Ariz., called Arizona coaches Sunday to confirm his interest in the program and give them his verbal commitment.

    One day later, Arizona received more benefits from Saturday’s win as three-star offensive tackle Chris Putton of Cactus High School (Glendale, Ariz.) also verbally committed.

    In addition to these two already confirming their collegiate intentions, highly touted running back Daniel Jenkins of Rancho Verde High School (Moreno Valley, Calif.) told Monday that he plans to put in his verbal commitment when he comes to Tucson for an official visit this Saturday for the Homecoming game against No. 5 USC.

    “”It’s just the way it is anywhere: the more wins and success you have throughout the season, the more kids there are who are going to be serious about you,”” said Josh Gershon, senior editor for “”All the kids are watching the games when they can. They spend their weeks talking to coaches all around the country and I think they do their homework; they watch the games and they want to see the teams that are recruiting them win.””

    Arizona has certainly cashed in thus far with four highly-touted recruits committing since the beginning of the season: three-star linebackers Taniela Maka and Jake Fischer also committed in late August and early September, respectively.

    The Wildcats’ commitment list has now grown to nine, and Benjamin and Putton are expected to make significant impacts next season.

    Benjamin has attracted much attention during his time at Arizona Western College. The 6-foot-1-inch, 200-pound cornerback received offers from five Division I programs, including ASU and Colorado.

    According to Benjamin, however, Arizona was always his first choice.

    “”Arizona was always No. 1,”” Benjamin said in a phone interview with the Daily Wildcat Tuesday. “”I really like the coaches (at Arizona). They know what it takes to make it to the NFL and I also feel that I will have an opportunity to come in and start and make an impact right away.””

    Putton also has a chance to make an early impact next season.

    Like Benjamin, Putton had interest in ASU and Colorado, while receiving his only other offer from Nevada-Las Vegas. The 6-foot-4-inch, 275-pound lineman has been high on Arizona’s target list for several months but he will not take his official visit until this December, when the Wildcats take on ASU. Even so, Putton used a series of unofficial visits – one in July and another two weeks ago, when Arizona beat Washington 48-14 – to solidify his decision, Gershon said.

    With a number of talented players on tap for 2009, and with Jenkins expected to be added to the class this weekend, Arizona is already putting together one of its most highly-ranked recruiting classes in recent years.

    According to Gershon, however, the high rankings of the recruits does not always tell the whole story.

    “”You have to be careful with rankings,”” Gershon said. “”Last year was Stoops’ lowest rated class, but if you look at the early impact of those guys, Stoops has said publicly that he loves those guys and is counting on a bunch of them.

    “”On paper (2009) is a good class and it looks to be a little better than 2008,”” he added. “”But 2008 on paper looked worse than the previous classes but in reality it wasn’t, so you just have to be careful.””

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