2004 Signing Day: Offensive Skill Positions

The Cats did not load up on offensive skill players. In fact, Arizona will not sign a quarterback or running back. Arizona went after a few high profile players at these spots, but failed to attract the guys they wanted. They decided that they did not want to settle for lesser players and turned their attention to other more pressing needs.

QUARTERBACKS

Starters Lost: (0)
Starters Returning: (1) Kris Heavner So
Others Lost: (0)
Others Returning: Nic Costa Jr, Richard Kovalcheck RS-Fr, Ryan O'Hara So

The Cats return the top four quarterbacks from last year and did not feel pressure to add any old quarterback. They went after guys like Rocky Hinds and C.J. Bacher but when they went elsewhere the Cats didn't turn to lesser prospects and decided to use their scholarships at other positions.

No QB recruits signed.

RUNNING BACKS

Starters Lost: (1) Clarence Farmer
Starters Returning: (1) Mike Bell Jr
Others Lost: none
Others Returning: (5) Brent Bolden RS-Fr, Beau Carr Jr, Chris Henry RS-Fr, Sean Jones Jr, Pedro Limon Jr,
Status Unknown: (2) Gilbert Harris Jr, Gainus Scott Jr

Like quarterback, the Cats did not feel a lot of pressure to add just any running back. Although most of the runners are unproven, Mike Bell was the Cats' most reliable offensive weapon and we've heard the new staff really likes the potential in Chris Henry and Brent Bolden. The Cats went hard after Samson Taylor, but never went hard after other running backs who seemed to really like the Wildcats.

No RB recruits signed.

WIDE RECEIVER

Starters Lost: (1) Lance Relford
Starters Returning: (1) Biren Ealy
Others Lost: None Others Returning: Mike Jefferson So, Anthony Johnson RS Fr, Syndric Steptoe So, Ricky Williams Sr, Ryan Eidson So*
*Eidson is a walk-on who played as a freshman.

The Cats return all but one of their top recievers, but there are a lot of question marks. Ealy is a potential star player, but his academics were a question mark at the end of last season. We've heard he's taken care of business, but it will be a concern until next spring. Williams looks to be developing into the player most thought he could be, while Jefferson, Johnson and Steptoe have yet to show exactly what they can do.

Bobby McCoy
WR, 6-2, 170
Klein Forest High School, Houston Texas

McCoy is a burner. He's got very good size and sprinter's speed. He claims to have run sub-4.3 in the 40 and, whether or not he ever cracked that barrier, it is certain that he is as fast a receiver as there is in Texas. He finished his senior season with 32 catches for 585 yards and nine scores. He still must polish his game and claims that he needs to improve his route running. He gave serious consideration to Notre Dame, Arkansas and Texas A&M.

2004 Role: McCoy has the size and speed to play right away, but must prove that he is ready to play. He has the athleticism, but needs to develop into a technically sound receiver. If he can pick up on the offense and improve his route running he could see the field.

Quote: "I love the coaches there and that is where I want to be."—Bobby McCoy

Gerold Rodriguez
WR, 5-11, 185
Venice Senior High School, Los Angeles, CA

Rodriguez is a solid receiver prospect from one of LA's best programs. According to his high school coach, he's one of the fastest players in the Los Angeles area. Rodriguez has position flexability as he can also play defensive back and is also a top return man, having taken several kickoffs to the house in his prep career. Rodriguez plans on moving to Tucson over the summer so that he can get acclamated to college and have a better shot at playing time. UCLA and Hawaii were interested late and ASU was involved heavily early on. Finished the year with 56 catches for 987 yards and 11 scores.

2004 Role: Rodriguez will have a shot to play. He will work out over the summer which will let him get acclimated to the team and the personel. He'll have to show a lot to unseat some of the veterans ahead of him, but with his speed anything is possible.

Quote: "Arizona is the school I always wanted to go to so when they offered there was not a question in my mind where I was going."—Rodriguez

TIGHT END

Starters Lost: (0)
Starters Returning: (1) Steve Fleming Sr
Others Lost: none

Others Returning: Matt Padron So, Clarence McRae Sr, Ryan Kilpatrick RS-Fr

The Cats have a solid group of returning players but are thinner at the position since a pair of junior college players failed to qualify last season. Fleming is among the best tight ends in the conference but other than that there are a lot of questions. Padron is a solid blocker but has yet to be a factor as a receiver, while Kilpatrick was moved to tight end after starting his career on defense.

Justin Walsh
TE, 6-5, 240
Laguna Hills (California) High School

Walsh has very good size and a frame that could put on considerable weight. He moves very well for his height and has good hands. He may be big enough that he could develop into an offensive lineman, but with his hands and quickness he could be better off as a pass catcher. He was very productive as a receiver in high school, racking up well over 500 yards receiving as a senior.

2004 Role: With a lack of depth and experience at tight end Walsh should have a chance to battle for a spot, but a redshirt season is not out of the question as the coaches may want him to get stronger and faster.

Quote: "I have good speed and I catch everything. I'm just a great athlete."—Justin Walsh

Travis Bell
TE, 6-7, 225
North Monterey County High School, Castroville, CA

Brother of Arizona offensive lineman Tanner Bell. He was the first player in the class to commit. He played in a run dominated offense. Bell has been praised for his foot speed and his football smarts and already has some familiarity with the program because of his brother. Bell is a solid student and would like to study sports medicine.

2004 Role: We've heard that Bell is working hard to add some more muscle to his frame. If he can get his weight up he could very well fight for playing time.

Quote: "I like everything I've seen at Arizona. I like the players, coaches and the town. I think it's a great college football town. The school is the main attraction. I also really like the rivalry they have with ASU."—Travis Bell


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