Signing Day Mailbag

Now that the recruiting class for 2013 is nearly complete, it is time to reflect a bit. Read on as Senior Editor Jason Scheer answers members' questions about the class.

How did we get in on Scroggins, and do you see Anu Solomon battling it out for the starting job or redshirting?

Arizona had an eye on him and was following Scroggins for a while. When it decided it wanted to add another quarterback, Scroggins made sense from a lot of perspective. For starters, he has two years and is a good guy to help transition if Arizona goes that route. If not, he is an experienced backup that can step in and at least help in practice and such.

I see Anu definitely battling for a starting spot, but I have no idea if he will win it. If Khari McGee qualifies, it will be even more interesting because while he probably will not start, McGee will have an opportunity to at least compete at QB. If Solomon does not win the starting job, it makes sense to redshirt him, especially with the depth Arizona has at the position.

No signees from Texas in this class. Is Texas less of a focus or was this just an off year for our efforts in the Lone Star State?

It takes time to develop relationships and Arizona did not have a coach that recruited Texas a lot previous to arriving at Arizona. Tony Gibson recruited a lot of Texas, but he obviously did not do a great job. I think Arizona gets into Texas and has the ability to land a few players from there in this class, but the focus is going to be Arizona, California, and Florida because that is where the relationships are.

Who do you expect to redshirt?

This might sound silly, but I always expect everybody to redshirt. However, Steven Gurrola is ready to play right now and you have to think that a few defensive players will also contribute. I can see a guy like Derek Babiash making an early contribution because of his size, as well as a player like David Maka. What I tend to do is look at the guys that are the most physically ready because the only step after that is being able to pick up the plays. Basically, it makes the journey to contribute as a freshman a little shorter.

How much of a priority do they put on d-line recruiting?

Much more than people probably assume. Arizona only plays three defensive linemen, so it is not like they need to have 15 guys on the defensive line. However, the coaching staff is much more confident in the defensive line situation than Arizona fans probably are. The belief is that a lot of the defensive line struggles had to do with development and the coaching staff has confidence in guys like Dwight Melvin and Kyle Kelley. Throw those guys in with the two players on their mission and the future of the defensive line looks fine. That's not to mention that the coaching staff was able to land Luca Bruno, Jack Banda, and David Maka.

Where would you rank this class compared to all of Mike Stoops' at Arizona?

Stoops landed some talent, but the problem is that there was not much development with them. Louis Holmes never improved while at Arizona, Richard Kovalcheck was a four-star quarterback, Brandon Tatum had four stars, Terry Longbons, Xavier Smith, A.J. Simmons, Terrell Reese, etc. If you land four-star players and can't develop them, then who cares?

The key for Rodriguez is that he is landing players at positions of need and in one season has shown the ability to develop players and make them better than they were at the start of the year. The number of four stars that Rodriguez lands will absolutely increase, but will not mean much if he can't develop them better than Stoops did. However, smart money says that he will.

Do you feel this is the kind of class we can expect at Arizona? Rank mid-30s? I have a feeling RR didn't know what to expect his first full year of recruiting and offered a bunch and was surprised at how many committed that fast (he even alluded to this in his press conference). So do you think he will be more selective in the future and we may pull in higher ranked classes? Of course there are other factors involved, just kind of curious of his expectations.

I do think that Arizona probably feels it filled up the class a bit early, but a closer look reveals that Arizona did not sign a full class. The coaching staff is going to recruit players that it wants and if those players want to commit early, it is not going to complain. The class filled up quicker than originally anticipated, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. You always want to have room for a few of the bigger players that decide close to Signing Day and my guess is that Arizona will have just that in this recruiting cycle.

There is nothing wrong with a top-30 recruiting class and as long as Arizona is landing the players it wants, it is difficult to complain. I do expect Arizona to keep improving with recruiting as long as winning becomes a consistent thing.

Do you think we will have a QB transfer out by the end of the Spring Semester? RR said he wants to play 22 guys on D and last August at a coaching clinic he thought we had 8. Do you think with the guys from LY who played and RS along with what we have coming in TY that we have 22 guys that can play D?

I don't like to predict transfers, but I do think Javelle Allen is in a tough spot. Josh Kern recognized what kind of future he had and switched positions, which was a smart move. Allen is not going to beat out Solomon, Scroggins, or whoever Arizona lands in 2014. If he is happy being a second string type of guy, then he probably stays a Wildcat. If not, the logical response is to transfer and look for playing time elsewhere.

I think the full 22 guys will have to wait a year, but the number definitely increased. You have to assume that a good chunk of guys that redshirted are going to be more ready to contribute while players such as Dakota Conwell are more likely to make an impact in their sophomore year. So, I am not sure if Arizona has 22 legitimate players on defense, but it does have more than last season.

When it is all said and done, who will have the biggest impact over their career?

That is an extremely difficult question, but my gut tells me that Pierre Cormier is a very good player that is going to have an impact at Arizona. I really like Derek Babiash and Devin Holiday, Anu Solomon, and a few others. It really is a difficult question to answer, which is a good thing for the future of Arizona.

Why do you think so many of the top recruits in Arizona left the state this year?

It is just the nature of the beast right now. A lot of kids from Arizona actually originate from somewhere else. They maybe were born in Los Angeles and lived there for a bit before moving to Phoenix or at least something similar. In addition, the two in-state programs just have not been very good in the past few years. In order for a state like Arizona to keep its players, there has to be something to sell besides being able to stay at home. I think you will see a decent amount of kids stay in-state this year and that is because both teams went to bowls and had success last season.

I'm curious about the staff's comfort level with the defense. Do you think that they believe the returning players will progress enough that it wasn't worth bringing in multiple JUCO defenders? Or did we just not do well recruiting the more coveted ones?

Rodriguez has been clear that he does not like to build his team based on JC kids like other schools may. Now, that does not mean that he will not take a couple to bridge a gap, because he will. However, the coaching staff seems to believe that JC kids are a temporary fix and they really are. The staff would seemingly rather take a high school recruit and then be able to develop him. With a JC kid, there really is not a lot of time for development because they generally only have two years.


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