The defensive side of the ball struggled in a major way in 2012 for the Arizona Wildcats. UA developed problems throughout the year and didn't have enough depth or talent to overcome the unit's shortcomings. For that reason, the 2013 recruiting class is vital for the future of the Wildcats' defense.
Incoming linebacker Ryan Dunn could be a player that makes an impact relatively early in his career. The 6-foot-3, 205-pounder from Danville (Calif.) San Ramon Valley fits the type of linebacker that normally contributes to a unit controlled by defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel.
Dunn officially becomes a Wildcat on signing day, but he has known where he's wanted to play college football for quite some time.
"I knew Arizona was the school for me basically since the first time I went down there," Dunn said. "Then I went to watch the USC game and I just knew that was the place I wanted to be. I have a friend down there that loves going to school there. Once I went there on my official and got to meet the guys on the team that just locked it in."
After developing a solid relationship with Casteel, head coach Rich Rodriguez and the rest of the staff, Dunn made a decision to commit to the Wildcats. Since that timeframe, Dunn has built upon those bonds and is excited to learn from his new mentors.
"I've become really close with Coach Casteel, who I'm going to be working with a lot," Dunn said. "All of the coach staff are really great guys. The GA for the linebackers, his name is Lee (Coleman). He is one of the coolest coaches I have met out of any place I have been or visited and I can't wait to spend more time with them and learn from them."
Arizona needs as many fresh bodies on the defensive side of the ball it can get. No position is perfect and Dunn feels that, with the need for talent and depth all across the defense, he has the opportunity to come in immediately and make an impact.
"I feel like there are a lot of different positions that I can play in that defense," Dunn said. "I feel that once I get down there and start playing ball we'll start seeing how I can affect the defense."
The linebacker from San Ramon Valley High School feels he can fit in numerous places within the system. He isn't sure where he will play in the 3-3-5 scheme, but he believes he can make a difference early somewhere on the field.
"I'm confident in what I can do," Dunn said. "I am not sure what position that will be at, but I think I can make an impact in my early years."
With the progress the Wildcats made in Rodriguez's first season leading the program, there is growing excitement surrounding the team; especially among the incoming class. Dunn is certain great things are ahead for UA and is excited to finally be a part of it.
"I wouldn't be going to Arizona if I didn't see that this is the place to be and that this is where it's going to happen," Dunn said. "Coach Rodriguez is definitely making a big impact on the school and the football program."
Dunn brings variety
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