Football coaches on the road recruiting

It is a strange time in college football recruiting. The coaching staffs are doing a ton of work, but will see little results for the most part until after the football season. Teams are approaching players, scouting them and trying to make a good early impression, but won't receive many commitments until November at the earliest.

According to John Mackovic the Wildcat assistant coaches are hard at work evaluating players. The staff will be on the road for most of May visiting schools, watching tape and attending combines. Now is the time where a game plan is developed, but things are not quite life and death yet.

All ready players are making top-five lists, but as history proves, they don't always hold true. Last year at this time Lawrence Jackson had the Cats in his top-five and Richard Kovalcheck was barely mentioning the Cats. As we all know Jackson never made an official visit, while Kovalcheck will be suiting up for Arizona in the fall.

Just because a player does not indicate an initial interest in a team does not mean the coaches do not keep working on him. Coaches are trying to impress players as well as their coaches. Impressions made now may not take hold until the fall.

The Cats have even more work than normal to do this recruiting class. Already a ton of negative recruiting is going on. Already players are being reminded about the November player revolt and John Mackovic's job status is sure to be a topic of conversation. After two losing seasons, college coaches are sure to be implying that Mackovic's job is in serious jeopardy.

This may mean that a number of players won't become interested in the Wildcats until the Cats get a few wins under their belt. Much like Cal last season, if the Cats show the future is bright, then some good things could happen. If Arizona stumbles early, then recruiting could be very difficult.

On the bright side, the Cats have a ton of great recruiters on the staff and the recent additions only make it stronger. With the hiring of Mike Hankwitz the Cats are even stronger in Texas. Jay Boulware will also take a bigger role in the Lone Star State and the young running backs coach has proven to be a good recruiter.

Adding Mike Borich and Craig Bray will help the Cats on the West Coast and Mike Deal and Jeff Hecklinski have ties to the Midwest which has been relatively untapped by Arizona the past few seasons.

The Cats already have one commitment, tight end Travis Bell, and this is a very early commitment. Two years ago Ryan O'Hara committed shortly after attending the Mackovic Football Camp, but to get a commitment in mid-May is a nice accomplishment. The bulk of the commitments occur in the fall and winter, in fact over 90% of Arizona's verbal commitments take place after the season is over. Of course over 90% of official visits also happen at this time as well.

Bell fills a need. The Cats need to add at least one, and most likely a pair of prep tight ends. Last year they added two junior college tight ends, but this season redshirt freshman Matt Padron is the only tight end who isn't a junior.

Two of the West Coast's top tight ends live in Arizona and both have indicated an interest in the Wildcats. Phoenix's Zach Miller likes the Cats a little bit but has ASU and Miami as the early favorites. Payson's Mike Barr turned heads at the Nike Camp and has the Wildcats in his top five. Line depth is always a need. The Cats will need more linemen on both sides of the ball. They lose just a few players on either side of the ball but they lack depth. On offense the Cats will have 12 linemen on scholarship, but four are newcomers.

One of the best offensive linemen in the nation lives in Tucson. Salpointe's John Kadous is attracting a lot of attention from a number of powerhouse schools but has visited Arizona on a number of occasions. He took at least two unofficial visits during recruiting weekends and both he and his coaches are very familiar with the Cats.

All told things are progressing for the Cats, but only time will tell what kind of successes will come out of all the hard work.


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