Arizona football coach Jedd Fisch called it “a great day for Arizona football.”
I agree. It was a five-star day for a program that needed a few four stars and some three stars and some much-needed talent that didn’t involve the recruiting class.
Fisch & Co. knocked it out of the park for a program that needed – so desperately needed – a big-time recruiting day.
Mission accomplished. Fisch said he wanted to be aggressive with recruiting and was.
“We took a very aggressive approach of recruiting that, every day, no matter what was going on, we’re going find ways to do recruiting,” Fisch told reporters on Wednesday on the first day of early signing day.. “I don’t care if it was Saturday after a loss. I don’t care if it was Sunday after a loss. I don’t care if it was Saturday after the Cal win. I don’t care, whatever it was, we were never going to miss a day to recruit and to build this roster. So whatever coaching changes happen, they happen, but we weren’t going to stand pat and not let that become a priority for us.”
So, there Fisch was explaining what had happened for the 2022 recruiting class, his first haul of players since being named the new coach almost a year ago.
Rivals rated it No. 3 in the Pac-12 Conference and 40th overall.
He signed 20 players, but the list could grow to as many as 30 when it’s all over – given preferred walk-ons, more signings and, of course, the important transfer portal.
He already has one from Pac-12 member UCLA in defensive back DJ Warnell.
Sound out the warnings: Arizona might – just might – have an impact next year and beyond. Wednesday, with so many quality signings could be the start.
I say “could be” because one never knows in recruiting. But it beats the alternative of not having a good class or not hitting the aforementioned homer.
It starts with somewhat of a close-to-home-or-program get in Keyan Burnett, the son of former UA player Chester Burnett. Keyan is the highest rated player of the bunch and one of three players Servite High in Anaheim. That Servite connection to UA also includes quarterback Noah Fifita, a 3-star who was instrumental in helping this class be impactful.
Fifita helped land Jacob Manu, another 3-star guy. Then came defensive lineman Ta’ita’a Uiagalelei who decommitted from Washington State.
“That group from Servite High School, initially, and then as it kind of grew to all of Juice County, as we say, to all of Orange County, and the Trinity League, were all impacted by Noah’s commitment,” Fisch told reporters today.
Fifita committed months ago and stood firm on his commitment although he gained attention from other schools.
“All he did was just recruit for us,” Fisch said.
And it worked. Others saw what was going on and said, ‘well, we want in,’” Fisch said.
It’s turned out to be the best recruiting class in 16 years – a lifetime ago in college football years. It got an assist from the men’s basketball program, too.
Does that go in the assist column?
Fisch hosted a number of recruits over the weekend and five committed. All were at Fisch’s home to watch UA defeat Illinois on Saturday.
“It was the coolest day we’ve had here,” he said. “The six people at my house, plus I think 30 family members, probably, and we’re all standing around the TV watching us win a game against Illinois. That’s when you want to hit the road with the Block A.”
Strike while the iron is hot, right? Looks like Fisch & Company has. With more players to come possibly.