Arizona Football

Arizona Wildcats National Signing Day Live Blog

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SIGNING DAY NOTES

— Arizona signed three four-star recruits according Scout.com ratings: Corona (Calif.) Centennial High School cornerback Chacho Ulloa, guard Michael Eletise of Honolulu Kaiser and athlete/quarterback Khalil Tate of Gardena (Calif.) Juniper Serro. Offensive lineman generally take longer to develop but Eletise does figure to see some playing time in 2016 like Cayman Bundage did as a true freshman as part of Rich Rodriguez’s first class in 2012. Tate looks like the real deal on tape — Arizona recruiting coordinator Matt Dudek compared him to Cam Newton — and he figures to push for a spot at quarterback contending with Anu Solomon and Brandon Dawkins

— Ulloa, as a much-needed defensive back, and Tate, multi-talented, need to be on the field where applicable. Other recruits who figure to play as true freshmen next season are Canton (Mich.) Plymouth linebacker Jalen Cochran (offered a scholarship by Michigan State late in the process) and defensive end Josh Allen of Long Beach Community College (Alabama and USC at one time entered the recruiting picture).

Rich Rodriguez’s philosophy on starting newcomers: “I tell the recruits that I don’t ever guarantee that they are going to start as soon as they come here because that’s not fair to them or the guys on the team. But we do not recruit anybody to be backups. We’re not recruiting you to come here and then say ‘you’ll be a backup for a year or two and then we will see what you can do’. If we’re recruiting and signing you it’s because we think you can play and contribute at this level. Now, how soon you are ready mentally and physically, we will find out in a hurry.” …

— Arizona defensive coordinator Marcel Yates said during Arizona’s “AZOKGDAY” live stream that he prefers defensive backs who “can cover ground and get there a lot quicker … The game is changing as far as offenses are trying to get DBs in space. They want to make those guys tackle. So when you have longer guys that can cover ground and can get there a lot quicker, they can get guys on the ground.” Six defensive backs are part of this year’s class. Their average size is about 6’0″ and 180. Yates and new defensive secondary coach Monte Williams played a significant part in Ulloa (5’11” and 190) becoming a late attraction for Arizona. …

— Rodriguez on defensive additions: “Well we got a little more athletic defensively, we got to get deeper. Certainly our depth took a hit this year with the injuries and that was a major part of it. But we also graduated several safeties, lost a few linebackers to graduation or the NFL, so we’ve got to get guys that can hopefully come to compete. We’re looking for taller, rangier safeties. Were still looking for guys up front, pass rush guys and all that. And linebackers that can maybe be a pass rush guy as a defensive end, but also be able to play in space. Everyone is looking for them and we’re no different, but we did get some. If you look at our linebackers we got some taller 6-3, 6-4, probably going to be 235 pound guys that are pretty athletic in space.” … Cochran is 6’4″ and 234 pounds and fellow linebacker recruit Kahi Neves of Salt Lake City Brighton is 6’4″ and 228. …

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SOUTHERN ARIZONA ATHLETE UPDATES INCLUDED


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IMPACT OF TRUE FRESHMEN RECRUITED BY RICH RODRIGUEZ

Since his hire as Arizona’s head coach leading up to the 2012 season, Rich Rodriguez has utilized 21 true freshmen and nine of them have started at least one game. This data only includes players who have stuck with the program and did not leave prematurely. In other words, they became a vital part of the program.

*Tyrell Johnson was part of the Class of 2103 but was not a true freshman until 2014 after attending prep school.
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KNOWN ARIZONA FOOTBALL CLASS OF 2016 COMMITMENTS
Stars based on Scout.com’s rating. Rank indicates national ranking.

OFFENSE (8)
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DEFENSE (13)
*-Graduate transfer
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.

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