The Arizona football team begins its 2013 season against Northern Arizona at Arizona Stadium on Aug. 30, which is 88 days away. From now until then, this Web site will count down the days with facts about the Wildcats, their players, coaching staff and opponents. This is not a ranking, only a list of 100 facts and observances related to the 2013 Arizona football team and coach Rich Rodriguez.
Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez signed two football players from Oregon in February, and his staff received a verbal commitment from that state’s top wide receiver prospect this weekend.
Three recruits from Oregon — the same state where the mighty Ducks have dominated the Pac-12 — triples the amount Arizona has attracted from there since quarterback Nic Costa was signed from Beaverton, Ore., in 2001.
Recruiting has a lot to do with contacts, and it is obvious that Rodriguez has a much different base than previous coach Mike Stoops. Rodriguez did not sign a player from Texas in February. Stoops used his Oklahoma background to attract recruits from Texas.
Rodriguez also inked a prospect from Florida and Georgia in February. Stoops never signed a player directly from those talent-rich states. He signed Florida-born prospects Louis Holmes, a defensive end, and Ryan Ellis, a running back, but they played elsewhere before transferring to Arizona. Holmes played for Scottsdale Community College and Ellis lettered for Southern Miss before transferring to Arizona.
Rodriguez’s ability to go into Oregon and the deep south to attract recruits is his way of showing that he is not concerned about the presence of established programs in those areas.
Central Point (Ore.) Crater High School teammates R.J. Morgan and Derrick Turituri signed their national letter of intent in February. Jordan Morgan, from Beaverton Southridge High School, committed this weekend and will join Morgan and Turituri in Tucson for the 2014 season.
R.J. Morgan is a 6-2, 200-pound prospect who played strong safety and wide receiver for Crater. He is athletic and physically gifted player who projects to be a linebacker for Arizona. He attracted the attention of Rodriguez and his staff by mailing highlight film. Rodriguez offered him a scholarship during his recruiting visit without watching him person.
He was not recruited significantly by any other program. His only recruiting visit was an unofficial trip to Arizona and he committed on the spot.
Turituri is a 6-4, 240-pound linebacker was on Arizona’s radar before R.J. Morgan entered the picture. He selected Arizona over Oregon State, Hawaii and Colorado after Morgan committed to the Wildcats. Boise State recruited him but did not offer a scholarship.
Jordan Morgan is a 6-2, 195-pound athlete with considerable speed. He is rated the top receiver prospect in Oregon by NorthwestEliteIndex.com. He also received scholarship offers from Air Force, Portland State and San Jose State.
Noticeably absent in the recruitment of each of these players is Oregon.
The difference in Oregon and Arizona presently is that if the Ducks sign a prospect from Arizona, the Wildcats will also be in hot pursuit.
Oregon’s 2013 roster includes four players from Arizona: Redshirt freshman defensive back Reggie Daniels and sophomore offensive lineman Tyler Johnstone from Chandler, sophomore offensive lineman Andre Yruretagoyena from Scottsdale and sophomore defensive lineman Sam Kamp from Mesa.
Arizona offered a scholarship to each except Kamp.
Rodriguez’s ability to draw talent from Oregon is more of a statement that Arizona can and will recruit anywhere.
The best No. 88 to play for Arizona? Anthony Gimino of TucsonCitizen.com gives that distinction to former tight end Mike Lucky (1995-98). Lucky started 35 of the final 36 games of his college career, recording 43 career receptions for 563 yards and four touchdowns. He also earned his bachelor’s degree in Political Science while at Arizona. Lucky was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the seventh round (229th overall) of the 1999 NFL Draft. He played in the NFL for four seasons.
WILDABOUTAZCATS.net publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He also writes blogs for Lindy’s College Sports, TucsonCitizen.com and Sports Illustrated-sponsored site ZonaZealots.com.