Arizona did not beat USC for many recruits in the Class of 2013 crop of recruits that Rich Rodriguez signed today, but the Wildcats lured a former Trojan.
Jesse Scroggins, a former USC quarterback, is enrolled at Arizona this spring after transferring from El Camino College in Torrance, Calif. He was one of the highest-rated quarterback prospects in the country in 2010 when Lane Kiffin recruited him to USC. After a redshirt year, Scroggins struggled through a preseason injury in 2011 and he encountered academic problems.
He is with the Wildcats with the hope of filling the vacancy left behind by Matt Scott, who has exhausted his eligibility.
The quarterback competition will grab most of the headlines, especially in fall camp, between Scroggins, high-profile recruit Anu Solomon of Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman, and returning senior B.J. Denker and sophomore Nick Isham. Scroggins, Denker and Isham (a walk-on who started seven games as a freshman at Louisiana Tech) have all taken snaps at the FBS level, but Solomon has drawn raves from Sports Illustrated as being the No. 1 quarterback impact recruit in the nation next season.
Arizona out-recruited ASU, Colorado, UNLV and Utah for Solomon’s services. He is one of four recruits who chose Arizona over ASU. The others are offensive lineman Jacob Alsadek from San Diego Torrey Pines, cornerback Derek Babiash from Poway (Calif.) High School and linebacker DeAndre Miller from Buckeye.
How these recruiting services rank classes is guesswork given the thousands of prospects. Moreover, most of these recruiting experts get second-hand information about the players.
At any rate, ESPN.com ranks Alabama’s class No. 1 in the nation (no surprise). Arizona’s class is ranked No. 39. The only program in the top 10 that considered signing one of the Wildcats’ recruits was No. 4 Notre Dame.
The Fighting Irish expressed interest in wide receiver/athlete T.J. Johnson of Cape Coral (Fla.) Island Harbor.
UCLA’s class, ranked No. 12 by ESPN.com, tops the Pac-12. Only two of Arizona’s 25 recruits were offered scholarships by UCLA, according to various recruiting services. They are Ontario (Calif.) Colony wide receiver Samajie Grant and San Diego Madison running back Pierre Cormier.
The Wildcats most often beat Oregon State (six signees), New Mexico (five), Utah (four), ASU (four), Washington (three) and NAU (three) for recruits. The results are the same story every year for Arizona, a program that has yet to reach the Rose Bowl and is viewed nationally as a Top 30 program, not a Top 10 power.
This is not basketball in which the UA has won a national title and played in four Final Fours. Then again, nobody considered Arizona a top 100 program before Lute Olson arrived in Tucson 30 years ago.
Without Chip Kelly as coach, Oregon is in the same category as Arizona to recruits. They have something to prove. Oregon’s 2013 class is ranked No. 21 by Rivals.com. That’s a decrease from the previous three recruiting classes under Kelly that ranked 16th, ninth and 13th.
Arizona’s class is ranked No. 36 by Rivals.com.
The bottom line is Rodriguez and his staff believe they signed who they wanted. At least they say that publicly.
What-could-have-beens — like the two recruits who decided to sign with West Virginia (running back Mario Alford and linebacker Brandon Golson) — are in the rear-view mirror. Quarterback/athlete Khari McGee from Edison High in Fresno, Calif., was a late addition for Arizona. He chose Arizona over Oregon State and Utah.
“You’ll always lose or gain one or two at the end,” Rodriguez told reporters. “We did a good job evaluating them. The guys we wanted made unofficial visits and had made visits to other places to compare to. When they committed, we knew it was a true commitment.”
The player who gained the most notoriety in Rodriguez’s press conference was Solomon, who has drawn comparisons to Russell Wilson with his ability to mix the run with an accurate, strong arm. Rodriguez is as elated to sign Solomon as Ohio State coach Urban Meyer was about signing one of his leading targets.
“He may be one of the best high school quarterbacks from a winning standpoint in the country in a long, long time,” Rodriguez said of Solomon. “I think he was 56-4, won four state championships and is from one of the best programs in the country. He can throw, he runs wells, he’s a tough competitor and he’s a winner.
“Again, he played for a great high school program. I’m really excited about Anu. He has the skill set that we look for in a quarterback. He’s a competitor and a tough guy. He should have a great future here.”
In Rodriguez’s mind, that future is Five-Star status, and that’s all that really matters.
— Complete rundown of every UA signee at ArizonaWildcats.com
— Anthony Gimino of TucsonCitizen.com writes about Arizona’s recruited quarterbacks who are athletic, competitive and hungry
— Rich Rodriguez’s importance on winning over in-state recruits is not lip service (WILDABOUTAZCATS.net)
— Daniel Berk of The Arizona Daily Star offers his report on Arizona’s 23-member recruiting class
Site publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner