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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Mastermind recruiters in Williams and Yates bring ‘Desert Swarm’ back to Tucson

Rebecca Noble
Arizona football head coach Rich Rodriguez smiles on the sidelines in Arizona Stadium on Sept. 26, 2015. Rodriguez’s newly hired defensive staff of Donté Williams and Marcel Yates brings a recruiting edge to the Wildcats’ defense.

Arizona football has experienced a lot of change and transition within the past few weeks.

The Wildcats hired Donté Williams as a defensive assistant for the defensive backs Sunday and by Tuesday, Marcel Yates was hired as the next UA defensive coordinator.

Although both are defensive masterminds, each is a recruiting genius to say the least.

“[Yates] has a proven track record as an outstanding recruiter, and he knows how to develop players,” Arizona football head coach Rich Rodriguez said in a press release. “There is no question he embodies the personality we are looking for as we strive to build the best program in America.”

In fact, Yates means business. His defenses have historically ranked nationally in a number of statistics.

“To me, it’s about getting to work,” Yates said in an Arizona Athletics video. “To me, it’s about winning on and off the football field.”

Some coaches might embrace their new campus, but not these guys. Instead, each is out recruiting already, spreading the Wildcat name to get back the title of “desert swarm.”

“Recruiting is not what you can say,” Williams said in an Arizona Athletics video. “Everybody can say things. Recruiting for me has been pretty much easy because the best recruiters for you are your players.”

For Williams, that starts with his players more than anything else. If you have players that believe in the system, the rest will just come naturally.

“Me and my players are more than just a relationship of a coach and a player—it’s family and that’s how it should be,” Williams said. “Recruiting for me, as far as philosophy goes, is just being relentless.”

More than that, Williams and Yates have hit the recruiting track hard, especially in California. In the past week, the coaches have hit up Portland, Los Angeles and Northern California.

“An OKG for me is just the guys I’m looking for,” Williams said. “The guys that remind me of myself. Nobody wants to recruit somebody as if they already have. I never look at a player and like, ‘he reminds me of me.’ I look at a player and say ‘he reminds me of me but he’s a little better in every shape, form and fashion.’ ”

The most important thing down the line that Yates will be looking for in his players is trust.

“It comes down to trust,” Yates said. “Can we trust you? If we can’t trust you, then it’s hard to have you on the football field. If we can trust you off the field, then it leads on the field.”

The Wildcat coaching staff has managed to recruit like crazy over the past few days. According to the Arizona Daily Star, the Wildcats have given 2017 defensive end Hunter Echols and 2016 defensive back Chacho Ulloa offers in the past few days.

Furthermore, the duo visited high schools in southern California.

Don’t get it wrong, it will be tough to replace all those the UA lost on the defensive side of the ball. The Wildcats have lost Scooby Wright III, Will Parks, Sir Thomas Jackson, Reggie Gilbert, Jeff Worthy, Anthony Lopez and Jamar Allah. This is a ton of big-name players that made big plays throughout the entire season.

At the same time, the Wildcats will surely bring in new talent and that starts with Yates and Williams. It may take a little bit of time to adjust, but Pac-12 Conference opponents watch out, the recruiting snipers and the Desert Swarm are back.

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