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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Football inks 24 prospects for ’09

    With reporters buzzing about the success of the Arizona football team’s 2009 recruiting class, head coach Mike Stoops summed it all up with a simple phrase: “”Winning cures all ills.””

    Last season’s success and Las Vegas Bowl victory – the first postseason victory in 10 years for Arizona – certainly appears to have helped the recruiting process as the Wildcats saw 24 athletes sign letters of intent for next season during Wednesday’s signing period.

    Back in August when Stoops greeted the press for his preseason press conference, he said the 2008 recruiting class was one of the best the program has had.

    He echoed those sentiments again Wednesday but suffixed the statement with more praise for his present one.

    “”I think our coaches did another great job of putting together a first-class class,”” Stoops said. “”The accumulation of all these players is really solid. I think this is a group of great character, great skill and size. I think we addressed some important needs as we move forward into next season.””

    One of the key areas Stoops and his staff focused on in this year’s class was depth at the linebacker position.

    With senior Ronnie Palmer gone and the other starters from last season entering their final year, the Wildcats needed to rebuild, which they did in the acquisition of a quartet of linebacker prospects – three of whom will be freshmen.

    Headlining the four signees is the freshman out of Lakewood, Calif. Trevor Erno. The 6-foot-1-inch, 230-pounder is listed by as a four-star prospect – one of only three recruits Arizona has in its class.

    “”What Mike (Stoops) has done is developed a consistency where now we’ve been able to fill in, and now our depth is so much better than it has been,”” UA athletic director Jim Livengood said.

    Another exciting linebacker the Wildcats are bringing is Jake Fischer. The high school senior from Ironwood Ridge High School in Oro Valley, Ariz., is listed as a three-star prospect mostly due to his smaller stature at 5-foot-11-inches. But according to Stoops, Fischer was an underrated prospect.

    “”A lot of people want to categorize people by height, weight or whatever. But Jake is a tremendous player,”” Stoops said. “”He has great instincts and has some powerful size to go with that frame. I’m confident he will do well in our system.””

    Aside from the linebackers, one of the most highly-recruited commits was Adam Hall, who announced his intent to sign with Arizona last Friday.

    Hall, a Tucson native from Palo Verde High School, is another four-star recruit in Arizona’s class who had offers from 10 other schools including USC, Oregon and Oregon State.

    “”Adam’s a very dynamic player and plays at such a violent speed,”” Stoops said. “”He can have great value in this program, specifically at the safety position.

    “”Receiver becomes a bit more difficult because at this level it’s a position you can’t just walk into,”” he added. “”But I can definitely see him walking into being a role-player next year at safety.””

    With the signing of home-state talent such as Hall last week along with the last minute signing of defensive tackle Jonathan Hollins yesterday, it appears as though things indeed have turned around for Stoops, who in the past said he has felt much more defensive come signing day.

    But with a recruiting class which saw only one player – three-star linebacker Taniela Maka – retract his verbal commitment which occurred nearly a month ago, Stoops said Wednesday was, “”fairly uneventful.””

    “”Recruiting can get ugly,”” Stoops said. “”But everything went pretty smooth this time around. I believe in these kids and I think we’ve got a lot of guys who will prove to be diamonds in the rough over the next couple years.””

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