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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona football: 2019 recruiting class breakdown

Simon Asher
Arizona head football coach Kevin Sumlin watches the UA football team warm up before a scrimmage in the spring football season on Saturday April 7, in Arizona Stadium in Tucson, Ariz.

Arizona announced the signing of 20 players to its 2019 recruiting class during the first day of the early signing period. As part of a trend that began in 2018, the majority of top high school recruits have started inking national letters of intent in December, rather than waiting until early February. Recruits are able to accept a scholarship offer and sign on with their school of choice beginning Wednesday morning until the end of the day on Friday. 

For Arizona, head coach Kevin Sumlin’s initial recruiting cycle focused largely on acquiring big-bodied prospects to strengthen both sides of the trenches. Sumlin also made a valiant effort to restore Arizona’s ties to Texas, landing eight prospects from the Lone Star state.

ESPN 4-star pocket passer Grant Gunnell leads the Wildcats’ incoming class, but it’s more than likely that a collection of other talented players will look to make contributions on the field as soon as they arrive on campus, whereas Gunnell will find himself waiting in the wings. 

Sumlin’s success or failure on the recruiting trail may not be evident until the start of next season, but in the meantime, it’s possible to predict how several signees can make an immediate impact for the Wildcats. Due to essential needs, and looming concerns, these are the players that will be expected to assume key roles at some point throughout the 2019 season. 

Jalen “Boobie” Curry 
Curry checks in as Arizona’s highest rated recruit. He’s also the only member of the 2019 class ranked in the ESPN 300, at No. 141 overall. Arizona emerged as an ideal landing spot late in the recruiting process, despite Curry holding offers from several SEC programs due to his relationship with fellow Houston native and his former high school teammate Gunnell. Both players are set to enroll at Arizona this spring, but Curry has the better chance to see playing time in the fall. With the departure of Arizona’s top three receivers – Shawn Poindexter, Tony Ellison and Shun Brown – this offseason, Curry could potentially find himself in a starting role  as early as his freshman campaign. 

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Coaches will work to sharpen his skill set before forcing him into game action, but that doesn’t mean Curry won’t take on a larger role as the season progresses. His film shows smooth route-running skills with soft hands. Curry also displays a knack for making defenders miss after the catch. With quarterback Khalil Tate returning for his senior season, Curry could evolve into a taller version of Brown, working out of the slot, or he could add an additional 10 pounds to his frame and abuse corners out wide. 

“Boobie is just a big guy,” Sumlin said. “He is a receiver type that we don’t have. A big, thick receiver that can highpoint that ball and is very, very physically level.”

Bobby Wolfe  
Wolfe was previously committed to Texas A&M, but apparently couldn’t help himself when he noticed an influx of players heading from Houston to Arizona, eager to redefine a changing culture in the desert. His commitment headlines a group of defensive backs that includes American Samoa’s top safety prospect Eddie Siaumau as well as Chris Roland, who nearly flipped his decision after visiting USC. Similar to Curry on offense, Wolfe will likely have the chance to compete for instant playing time on the defensive side of the ball. With very little experience returning at the cornerback position, aside from Jace Whittaker and Lorenzo Burns, Wolfe presents a possible solution to issues in the secondary that plagued the ‘Cats all of last season. 

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His length and height may be two of his greatest strengths, but Wolfe doesn’t shy away from contact either. In film, he’s very active in the second and third levels, routinely breaking on slant routes and showing up to set the edge in run support. He’s also confident enough in his own ability to lure passers to look his way, before utilizing top end recovery speed and ball skills to disrupt throws down the field. Wolfe will look to continue to refine his technique and add meat to his bones before competing for playing time in 2019. 

“Bobby’s a six-two, really long corner,” Sumlin said about the Texan four-star. “[Wolfe] can run, is very, very physical and [a] great change of direction.”

Junior College Linemen 
Arizona was adamant about adding size to its roster this recruiting cycle. More importantly, Sumlin focused on acquiring players that would be ready to anchor each side of the line of scrimmage the moment they stepped foot on campus. The ‘Cats nailed both goals by signing a total of seven linemen, four of which hail from the junior college level. Offensive linemen Josh Donovan and Paiton Fears each measure in at 6-foot-6, both weighing more than 300 pounds. 

Their arrival should elevate a returning offensive line that is desperate for veteran leaders. Donovan has the potential to play a number of positions up front. Along the ‘Cats’ defensive line, Trevon Mason and Myles Tapusoa will add length and size to Arizona’s weakest position group. While Mason could evolve into a starting defensive end, opposite PJ Johnson, over the course of the season, Tapusoa is currently ready to fill the void left by Dereck Boles at defensive tackle. Sumlin scored big by landing an impressive collection of junior college stars, an area that was more or less ignored by previous regimes.  

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