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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Column: Arizona football recruiting returning to Lone Star state

Rebecca Noble

In four seasons, Arizona football head coach Rich Rodriguez has led the Wildcats to four consecutive bowl games.

There are a few iconic stereotypes about the state of Texas: barbecue food so good you could buy it at a gas station and not regret it, the best country music in the land and football is a religion.

It’s the type of football that’ll shut down an entire town on a Friday night and build a $59.6 million high school stadium that seats 18,000 people, which resembles a Conference-USA facility. 

It’s not just the high school facilities that are bigger in Texas, it’s also the talent.

Texas is a breeding ground for football players, and new wide receivers coach Theron Aych, who was hired from University of Texas El Paso Thursday and introduced Saturday, will now sprinkle some lone star talent for years to come.

“… I got 15 plus years of Texas ties,” Aych said. “That’s an area [Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez] felt he wanted to get back into. In the past, there’s been some really great players from Texas.”

Texas recruiting has been MIA for Rodriguez, while former head coach Mike Stoops was known for hauling in recruits from the area. 

Nick Foles, Mike Thomas, Dan Buckner, Trevin Wade, Earl Mitchell, Donald Horton, Ronnie Palmer, Keenyn Crier, Terrell Turner, Spencer Larsen, Syndric Steptoe, Cam Nelson—the list goes on and on of Texas players who had a impact on the program.

Related: Arizona football’s defensive line isn’t big; that’s a problem

Impact is used lightly, because the Wildcats weren’t Pac-12 Conference contenders until 2009, but they added size to the roster, and ever since the Stoops players started to fade away under Rodriguez. Arizona lost girth. 

Any program in the Pac-12 could’ve been successful without size a few years ago, but with the conference improving up and down, the best way to compete again with size is to go for the diamond in the rough prospects in Texas.

“Coaches in the past have done a really good job in bringing some Texas guys in here. We kind of branched away from it, because I thought kids were more interested in Big 12, SEC,” Rodriguez said. “I think there are so many good players in the state of Texas, so many good programs, so many good high school coaches that we have to get into that state.”

Rodriguez and Aych will focus on east Texas in the Houston area, which is a sneaky tactic considering ex-Houston head coach Tom Herman accepted the same position at Texas now so the Houston area looks to be fair game for recruiting.

“We’re going to get into particularly the Houston area a lot more, and not just coach Aych but some of the other guys on the staff as well,” Rodriguez said.

Texas players won’t change the culture of the program right away, but it’s a step in the right direction for Rodriguez.

Follow Justin Spears on Twitter.

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