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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Stoops welcomes ’10 recruiting class

The Arizona football program officially turned the page to the 2010 season yesterday when head coach Mike Stoops announced the program had signed 20 new players to the 2010 recruiting class.

“”I thought we had a very successful (National Signing Day) in a lot of areas,”” Stoops said at a press conference in McKale Center. “”Obviously you want to improve your team each year and we certainly feel like we’ve improved the depth of our team in a lot of capacities today, which we needed to.””

Arizona focused heavily on recruiting defensive players since the unit lost seven starters from the 2009 squad.

Leading the way is four-star recruit Marquis Flowers from Millennium High School in Phoenix, Ariz. Flowers, who participated in the U.S. Army All-America game in January, was ranked as the No. 1 recruit in the state of Arizona this year. He’s listed simply as an athlete, but Stoops said they expect him to play safety.

Joining him in the defensive backfield is, among others, Jonathon McKnight – brother of former USC running back Joe McKnight.

Other defensive signees include defensive linemen Willie Mobley, Kirifi Leuta-Taula and Saneilia Fuimaono.

“”Put a big time player (like) Marquis Flowers in there with that group (of defensive linemen) and Jonathan McKnight, you know we got a pretty special group of defensive players I think,”” Stoops added. “”That’s critical. I’ve always believed that you fill the stands with offense but you win with defense, and that’s something that will always be the case here.””

Speaking of offense, Stoops and Co. brought in a host of tall wide receivers including Tyler Slavin, 6-foot-2, Austin Hill, 6-foot-3 and Dexter Ransom, 6-foot-4.

Not to mention Garic Wharton who, according to Stoops, has some wheels.

“”Garic Wharton’s probably the fastest,”” Stoops boasted of his new playmaker. “”He is probably the fastest football player in the country, out of high school.””

Other offensive recruits include enormous offensive line bookends Mickey Baucus, Fabbians Ebbele, both 6-foot-8, and Trent Spurgeon, 6-foot-7.

For almost the entire 2009 season Arizona had a strong verbal commitment from three-star quarterback Matt Brown, but he decided to sign with Texas Christian University shortly after it was announced that Sonny Dykes was leaving his post as Arizona’s offensive coordinator to become the head coach at Louisiana Tech.

Arizona found a last minute replacement for Brown by signing Keller, Texas, product Cameron Allerheiligen.

Missing from the list of recruits is a running back, but Arizona returns three ball-carriers who received significant action last season, two of them underclassmen, and have redshirt-freshman Daniel Jenkins waiting in the wings.

The 20 new players will join junior college linebacker transfers Paul Vassallo and Derek Earls as well as Dan Buckner, a wide receiver that transferred from Texas this winter break. All three are already on campus, taking classes and working out with the team.


New players, new look as well

In addition to welcoming these new players to the roster in 2010, the Arizona Wildcats will also be sporting some fresh gear. Stoops announced that the team will modify its uniforms next season, much to the chagrin of UA students that just slapped a football jersey or two onto their Bursar account.

“”They’ll be a little bit different. More towards our old look, and a little more traditional but still modern,”” Stoops said.

“”We’re going to change our uniforms for the fall and have a bunch of different looks that we’ll be able to accessorize our players with. And that’s just kind of that fad that we’re in right now with kids and players and we’re just trying to stay up with it and stay progressive in our thoughts and if that makes them happy, then I’m happy. I really don’t care what they wear, I think they all look good.””

Stoops also commented that Arizona will probably wear white helmets again in the future. Whether they will yield the same results as the last time the team donned the white caps remains to be seen.


Tim Kosch’s view

Recruiting builds a foundation of a program, but don’t put too much stock in it right now. It’s about how a team can develop these recruits more than it is merely signing them — not a single team won a game on Feb. 3, 2010. Keep in mind that Arizona’s success these past two seasons has come mostly with two- and three-star recruits. The Wildcats had a better season last year than recruiting powerhouses like Florida State, Michigan and other schools, so don’t go crowning teams with “”elite”” recruiting classes just yet.

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