Arizona's new coaching staff intends on making more of an impact in-state when it comes to recruiting. In years past, the Wildcats made solid efforts to land the state's top talent, but it came at a moderate success rate. For this reason, it was essential for new head coach Rich Rodriguez to retain the commitment of Gilbert Mesquite running back Anthony Lopez.
The 5-foot-11, 195-pounder committed to the Wildcats back in September and remained solid despite the changing of coaching staffs. In reality, it didn't take much for Rodriguez to sell Lopez on staying put. The prospect out of Gilbert has had his eye on going to Arizona for a couple of years now.
"I have been wanting to go there since sophomore year," Lopez said. "I didn't know that they were actually going to offer me because they weren't talking to me until the end of my junior year, but I just wanted to go there."
After Rodriguez started bringing assistants over, Lopez was able to get in communication with a few of them. Since meeting members of the new staff, there is a specific assistant he has established a good relationship with.
"Coach Magee, the running backs coach," Lopez said. "We've been talking a lot. I try to call him and just talk about everything going on."
Running back is a position that has a lot of young talent. With Ka'Deem Carey, Greg Nwoko, Daniel Jenkins, Kylan Butler and Jared Baker all returning, it is a crowded backfield for Lopez to enter. Even with a significant amount of competition at running back, Lopez's goal entering the season is to work his way onto the field as a true freshman.
"My individual goal is to play this year," Lopez said. "Coach Magee said I have a good chance of playing this year, so I am trying to work towards that."
His high expectations don't stop with individual goals. He wants Arizona to earn something special by the team his college career is over.
"Definitely a Pac-12 championship," Lopez said.
As for his arrival, Lopez isn't exactly sure of the exact date, but he plans on reporting to campus in the early summer.
"I don't know exactly what's going to happen yet," Lopez said. "But I think I will be down there in June."
Lopez at home with Arizona
Wildcat Authority Top Stories
Video: Sean Miller after UC IrvineSean Miller meets with the media after Arizona's win over Irvine.
Wildcat AuthorityTuesday at 9:45 PM
Arizona bounces back with easy winArizona defeated Irvine at McKale Tuesday night. Read on for a full recap.
Wildcat AuthorityTuesday at 8:44 PM
Postgame Analysis: Arizona vs. UC IrvineArizona returned home with a 79-57 victory over UC Irvine. Read on to find out who the player of the game was, the key moments, and more.
Wildcat AuthorityTuesday at 6:46 PM
Breakdown: Arizona vs. UC IrvineArizona will return home to face UC Irvine on Tuesday night. Read on for statistics, a positional breakdown, and a score prediction.
Wildcat AuthorityMonday at 5:25 PM