Arizona Football

Defensive line drawing most recruiting attention for Arizona Wildcats



Markell Utsey is the fifth defensive lineman to commit to Arizona out of the Class of 2016

Markell Utsey is the fifth defensive lineman to commit to Arizona out of the Class of 2016

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The Arizona Wildcats have 17 Class of 2016 commitments with the pledge of Little Rock Parkview defensive tackle Markell Utsey earlier today, and almost a third of them are reinforcements for the defensive front.

Utsey is the fifth defensive lineman who has committed to Rich Rodriguez’s program. He joins Long Beach City College defensive end Josh Allen, El Cajon (Calif.) Granite Hills defensive end Jake Burton, Fontana (Calif.) Summit defensive tackle Jabari Watson and Salpointe Catholic defensive tackle Justin Holt.

With still six months to Signing Day, Rodriguez and his staff have attracted the largest crop of defensive linemen in their five recruiting efforts in Tucson from 2012 to 2016. If the players honor their commitments, it will top the previous largest group of four defensive linemen signed in 2013.

The effort of Rodriguez and Co. to bolster the defensive front is likely because four of their first seven signed players in 2012 and 2013 are no longer with the program. The only three left from those two classes are from the Class of 2013 — defensive tackle Luca Bruno and defensive ends Calvin Allen and Jack Banda.

None of the three signed in 2012 — would-be seniors or redshirt juniors this season — remain. One of them, Dylan Cozens of Scottsdale Chaparral, opted to play pro baseball in the Philadelphia Phillies organization instead.

Here is a look at each class of defensive linemen Arizona’s staff has signed with Rodriguez as head coach (bold indicates still on 2015 roster):

Finton Connolly DT
Anthony Fotu DE
Timmy Hamilton DE

Jerod Cody DE
Marcus Griffin DT
Jeff Worthy DT

Calvin Allen DE
Jack Banda DE
Luca Bruno DT

David Maka DT

Dylan Cozens DE
Kyle Kelley DE
Dwight Melvin DE

Click on “Next” on the arrows to see a slideshow of each Class of 2016 recruit …


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