U of A Football Junior Day a Success

The end of January is always a tense time for college football coaches. National Signing Day is just around the corner and most coaching staffs are scrambling to put the finishing touches on their recruiting class. Most schools are still very busy hosting prospects on official visits during the final weekend in January.

While Arizona was still hosting a few official visitors that late in the process, the recruiting year went so well for the Wildcat coaches that they were able to turn their attention to the 2006 class.

On January 29th the Arizona coaching staff held their annual Junior Day festivities on campus. The staff extended about 30 invitations to the state of Arizona's top junior prospects to come down to Tucson and check out the University of Arizona, see the Wildcat basketball team play Washington State and to get a general feel for the program and it's direction under Mike Stoops.

Getting a jump on the 2006 recruiting class is especially important given Mike Stoops' stated opinion on the importance of winning the recruiting battles for the in state prospects. In any given year the state of Arizona produces anywhere from 5-10 high Division One (BCS Conference level) quality prospects in football. The 2006 class will be no different as there is a clear top few athletes that will be recruited by most and definitely evaluated by literally everyone.

The state's top offensive line prospect for the 2006 class is Tucson Salpointe Catholic's John Romero Jr. At 6-foot-5 and 295 pounds, Romero will be one of the state's most heavily recruited athletes this coming recruiting cycle. Romero made the small trip over to the Arizona campus for the Junior Day festivities and he liked what he saw.

"It was a good time, I really enjoyed it," said Romero. "At first, last year, I was not really interested in Arizona at all but after talking to all of the coaches and getting to know some of them I would say that [Arizona] is definitely an option now."

Romero went on to say that he feels that he has started a good solid relationship with his would-be position coach at Arizona in offensive line coach Eric Wolford.

"I like coach Wolford a lot," he said. "Coach Wolf and I have developed a pretty good relationship already. I feel that we have a real good connection and I know that he is a good coach."

Romero already has two offers in hand from U of A and in state rival Arizona State and is also getting already heavy recruiting interest from Michigan, North Carolina, LSU, Boston College and Alabama. Romero will attend the U of A one day Elite camp in June as well as the camp at ASU and one of the NIKE combines.

Moving to the defensive side of the ball, Jermaine Williams from Maryvale High School in Phoenix will likely be, along with Romero, the most heavily recruited athlete in the state. Williams plays both sides of the ball as he plays running back and fullback for Maryvale but he is being recruited by most schools, including Arizona, for his exploits at the defensive end position.

At 6-foot-4, 255 pounds and a solid 4.6 second 40 time there is no question to Williams' athletic abilities and why he is the best defensive prospect in the state for 2006. Williams made the trek to Tucson from the Valley and he shared his thoughts on his Junior Day experience.

"It was good, actually I think it went great," said Williams, who sported a #20 Salim Stoudamire basketball jersey on the trip. "I really like all of the coaches and I got to meet with (defensive ends) Coach (Joe) Robinson and he is just a real cool dude. He is a good dude. I like the whole coaching staff. Coach (Mike) Stoops is a real intense guy and he is real fun to talk to, he is real easy to talk to. The whole experience was a 10 (on a scale of 1-10) really; I was just really impressed with everything."

Williams went in to Junior Day with one offer from Arizona State and he now has an offer from the Arizona Wildcats.

"U of A is my number one school right now for sure," said Williams. "U of A is my favorite by a lot right now. I just really liked everything down there. The weight room is amazing and the locker room was great. I am definitely going to make it down for the U of A camp this summer."

In addition to the two offers from the in state schools, Williams said that UTEP and Oregon said they were going to offer him scholarships. He is also receiving recruiting mail from Michigan, UCLA and Oregon State.

Nipping at Williams' heels for the top defensive recruit honor is Mesa Red Mountain defensive tackle Jon Hargis Jr. Hargis was also in attendance for Junior Day and gave his thoughts.

"It was great," he said. "I liked it down there. The facilities are real nice. The coaches are all real nice and Coach Stoops is a real nice guy. I liked the whole coaching staff really. Coach (Tim) Kish is a good guy and Coach (Mike) Tuiasosopo is real nice too."

Hargis has one offer so far from Arizona State and is also getting heavy recruiting interest from Michigan, Nebraska, Notre Dame, UCLA, San Diego State and New Mexico in addition to the interest from the Cats. Hargis will most likely camp at both U of A and ASU and is also planning on attending at least one of the NIKE combines.

North High School in Phoenix is home to the state's best linebacker in 6-foot-3 inch, 230 pound backer Cody Dowd. Dowd led the state in regular season tackles as a junior at North with 164 stops in 10 regular season games.

"It went real good at the Junior Day," said Dowd. "They took really great care of us and they put on a real good event. I got to meet coach Stoops and all of the other coaches and I got to meet the Athletic Director and it was just a real good time. I didn't get to stay for the game because we had to leave for my dad to get to work but I would still give the experience a nine out of 10. It would have been a 10 if I could have stayed for the game."

Dowd said that he got to meet with his would be position coach, linebackers coach Tim Kish, and he feels that he is the type of coach that he could play for.

"I met with the position coach, Coach Kish and he is a real good guy," said Dowd. "I really like coach Kish. He is a real aggressive coach and I like that a lot. He makes you work and he gets the best out of you."

Dowd is currently getting letters from both in state schools along with letters from Georgia, Nebraska and coaches from Oregon have come by the North campus. Dowd said that he is planning on attending the U of A one day Elite camp in June.

Another top offensive prospect that was in attendance for the Junior Day was Peoria Centennial running back Tim House. Tim already knows a lot about Arizona since two of his current teammates, RB Terry Longbons and OL Jordan Lowe, signed their National Letters of Intent to attend the University of Arizona.

"It was good, I enjoyed it a lot," said the 5-foot-8 inch, 180 pound House. "I like (running backs) Coach (Kasey) Dunn a lot. I got to talk to him a lot when I was down there and he is a good coach, I like him. I also like Coach Kish a lot too. He is a good guy and a good coach. Coach Stoops is all about the program and he is all business and I like that. He is a real serious guy and he knows what he wants to accomplish at Arizona."

House is getting interest from a lot of school but as of right now he said that five schools stick out above the others early in the process.

"Right now I would say that I have a top 5 of Arizona, Arizona State, Cal, Nebraska and Colorado," said House. "That is kind of my early top 5 and I would say that Arizona is my favorite right now."

House is set to attend the U of A one day camp along with the ASU camp and the NIKE combines.

All in all it seems that the annual Junior Day was a very good success for the Arizona Football Program. The Arizona coaches extended invitations to the state of Arizona's top 30 prospects and just about all of them showed up to take part in the Junior Day experience. When Mike Stoops said that his recruiting will begin with heavy efforts in the home state it appears that he was not just talking, he has produced results early in the state and is looking to further dominate the home state.

Here is a list of juniors that showed up to take part in the Junior Day festivities in Tucson on January 29th.

Jermaine Williams, Defensive End from Maryvale High School in Phoenix.

Andrew Berryhill, Tight End from Salpointe Catholic High School in Tucson.

John Romero, Offensive linemen from Salpointe Catholic High School in Tucson.

Erik Archuleta, Quarterback from North High School in Phoenix.

Cody Dowd, Linebacker from North High School in Phoenix.

Glyndon Bolasky, Running Back from Sabino High School in Tucson.

Brooks Reed, Defensive End/Fullback from Sabino High School in Tucson.

Brantwon Browser, Cornerback from Maryvale High School in Phoenix.

Chase Brunick, Quarterback from Desert Edge High School in Goodyear.

Dax Crum, Quarterback from Horizon High School in Scottsdale.

Lovess Eafon, Running Back/Athlete from Salpointe Catholic High School in Tucson.

Anthony Freeman, Linebacker from Cactus High School in Glendale.

Cole Graybill, Linebacker from Brophy High School in Phoenix.

Trevor Hankins, Tight End from Chaparral High School in Scottsdale.

John Hargis, Defensive Tackle from Red Mountain High School in Mesa.

Laron Harrington, Running Back from Moon Valley High School in Phoenix.

Tim House, Running Back from Centennial High School in Peoria.

Jeff Jones, Tight End from Moon Valley High School in Phoenix.

Jay Leal, Kicker/Punter from Westwood High School in Mesa.

Ricky Moore, Linebacker from Chandler High School.

Tyler Porras, Quarterback from Saguaro High School in Scottsdale.

Marcus Richmond, Running Back from Dobson High School in Mesa.

Kenton Thomas, Running Back from Greenway High School in Phoenix.

Moon Valley RB Laron Harrington

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