Have no fear

Last summer when the Arizona coaching staff got off to an amazingly fast start in recruiting Wildcat fans everywhere were jumping for joy. Before the season had even started the Cat coaches had locked up commitments from over half of the class that would sign in February. In the end the Arizona recruiting class wound up ranking 15th nationally by Scout.com and was a consensus top 20 class among every other major scouting service.

Entering his second campaign as head coach of the Wildcats Mike Stoops has again gotten off to a rather quick start in the recruiting game. After three games the Cats have secured verbal commitments from five talented athletes, including the top tight end from the home state of Arizona in Cody Anderson from Apache Junction High School.

Even with another good start to the recruiting season some internet fans have begun to grumble some about the lack of success of actually getting early verbal commitments. The fans that are making noise lack one bit of very important knowledge however.

This year the Cats are going after the absolute best of the best from their recruiting zones. They are going after and staying in on more elite players.

That is not to say that they did not go after the highest profile recruits a year ago, because they did, but the difference is this year they are staying in on them for much longer and are setting up official visits with the top talent. Last year the Cats had the occasional recruiting battle with Oklahoma, USC or Cal and they won some and lost some. But this year they are battling those schools for almost the entire list of recruits that they are going after.

Case in point, Oakland (McClymonds High School) defensive tackle Derrick Hill. Hill, who is rated as a five star prospect (out of 5 stars) and the number four tackle in the country has four of his five official visits set up so far. He will visit USC, Cal, Oregon and yes, Arizona. Last year the Cats would have developed a good relationship with Hill and kept recruiting him but would not have gotten a visit out of him.

Another example of this would be the case of Rancho Cucamonga, California cornerback Devin Ross. Ross is another five star player and is ranked as the number two cornerback in the nation by Scout.com. Ross has scholarship offers from just about every top program in the country and he has repeatedly said that Arizona will end up getting an official visit this fall.

So far the committed players are mostly three-star types. Of the five players who have already verballed to the Wildcats, four are three-star players, with only DB Cam Nelson checking in as a three-star player.

Before you worry about the lack of, er, star power, remember players like Michael Thomas, Ronnie Palmer and Syndric Steptoe were all three-star recruits, while Spencer Larsen, Wilrey Fontenot, Dane Krogstad, Peter Graniello and Antoine Cason were all two-star prospects.

In the end the Cats will end up with their fair share of athletes in this year's class. They will not get every high profile recruit that they bring in for visits this fall but the fact that they are coming in for visits says a lot about the staff's persistence and their abilities to relate to the modern day high school star athlete. Even if the Cats sign the high profile kids at a 20 percent success rate this year's class will easily trump last year's 14th ranked class. Any kind of success rate higher than that though will result in the school's best class in its long football history.

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