Rodriguez addresses needs with 2013 class

Rich Rodriguez was able to address numerous needs with the 2013 recruiting class. Read on to see what those are, his thoughts going forward, and more.

The 2013 recruiting class has a different feel for Arizona because it is filled with players that this coaching staff was able to get out and evaluate early as opposed to its initial class that included numerous players the coaching staff had to take in order to fulfill a commitment it had to those players.

"It's night and day," Rich Rodriguez said. "Year one you're scrambling. For us, we had a solid class. We also honored the class that had already committed here. That was a department policy and I understood that. We honored those commitments and added a few more. Some of those guys contributed last year and more will contribute this year.

"This year we had a longer time to evaluate to really fulfill our needs. I think this is a really good recruiting class. If we continue to do our jobs on the field and with the Lowell-Stevens Football Facility being finished in the July, our recruiting will continue to get even better. Now we can sell them with more results. We had a solid year on the field and they can see some progress there."

The fact that Rodriguez is able to recruit players that he wants brings the Wildcats closer to the depth that Rodriguez wants. However, there is still some work to do in that regard.

"It changes us from a numbers standpoint," he said. "It will take us another recruiting class to get the numbers where we want. This year we will have more bodies, but it will still take another year to get the numbers up as far as the breakdown of the 85 scholarships and what we have on defense.

"The numbers we have are going to be young with freshmen and sophomores, but that's all we have defensively. Some of these guys are going to play early and most likely before they're ready, but we'll have to do our job as coaches to make newcomers ready so these guys can get on the field and help us win."

Still, Rodriguez would like to only play the guys that are ready and that will be determined once they get to campus.

"If they're good enough to win, we'll play them," he said. "We don't ever guarantee a guy that they will start as soon as he gets on campus because that won't be fair to the current guys on your team. But we don't recruit backups.

"We recruit for them to compete. If they're ready to play as a true freshman, they'll play. It's our job and their job to get them ready. That's the way we've always been. If they're good enough to win with and can help us win games then we'll play them right when they get here."

Whether or not they are ready to play, Rodriguez admits that the theme of this recruiting class is likely the overall speed that it will bring.

"I thought we ran okay last year, but we weren't nearly fast enough or big enough on either side of the ball," Rodriguez said. "All coaches want to be faster and bigger but we were lacking in both of those aspects at times. We had to have a lot of long drives offensively, sometimes 12 to 14 play drives.

"Defensively, we struggled in the size factor and guys playing out of position. We have big guys in this class but we still have to get bigger and I'm always looking for fast guys. We have three or four guys in this class who are dynamic in both punt and kick return who will have a great opportunity to show what they can do."

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