JC's are no quick fix

To JC or not JC that is the question. For many rebuilding programs hitting the JC ranks hard is the way to go. It worked at Cal. It has worked at Kansas State and Fresno State. There are a number of programs who have mined the JC ranks for quality players. Arizona is not one of them.

That is not entirely fair. Dick Tomey had some great success with junior college players. Chris McAllister, Jeremy McDaniel and Edwin Mulitalo were just some of the JUCO players who made a difference for Tomey's teams.

That has not been the case for Mike Stoops, nor was it the case for John Mackovic.

One only has to look at this year's recruiting class to see how hit or miss recruiting JUCO players are. In this case it was mostly miss.

The Cats brought in nine JC players this season and only two of them are making an impact.

Qwenton Freeman – Late signee who has not scratched the line-up and is probably a year away from seeing action.

Adam Hawes – Hawes was supposed to be an immediate factor, but it has taken some time. He got the start against USC and has been a solid contributor since. He's getting better and has been a solid player.

Michael Johnson – The big safety has been everything the Cats have hoped. He missed most of the spring with a foot injury but is now stealing snaps from senior Lamon Means. The best of the bunch in terms of production.

Brandyn McCall – He would be starting at tight end, but back injuries have kept him from making any kind of impact. He has seen some action early on, but as the injuries have gotten worse the Cats have gone to Brad Brittain as a blocking TE.

Paul Nichols – The versatile TE/H-back/fullback has left the program. He played in two games, but had no carries or receptions. After the Cal game Nichols left the program due to "personal reasons".

Ricky Parker – Parker committed to the Cats over the summer and came to Tucson out of shape. He is still trying to get his weight and conditioning up to snuff and has not been able to move any higher on the depth chart than third string.

Byron Smith – The DT who was supposed to bring stability to the defensive line has done anything but. He was dinged up in fall camp and his conditioning suffered. Yaniv Barnett won the starting job and Smith was not a factor. He has taken a brief leave from the team to work on some personal issues and his future status remains in doubt.

B.J. Vickers - He was supposed to be an impact receiver, but is no longer with the team. He was supposed to start the Utah game but problems with his transcripts ended his Arizona and Pac-10 career.

J.C. Zahradnik – The late addition was a good pick-up for the Cats. He was brought in to be the longsnapper and won the job. The only problem is that he left the program a week before the opener.

Stoops' first class was only slightly more successful in terms of JC recruiting. The biggest problem with that class has been the injury bug. Aaron Butler – The late signee spurned Boise State to be a practice squad player for the Cats.

Kiel McDonald – Was on the two-deep depth chart before a knee injury cost him his junior season. Left the program before this year.

Dramayne McElroy – A back-up corner who missed most of last year with a leg injury. Still has two years to play.

Randy Sims – Was a starter last year but has been limited this year due to a high ankle sprain.

Brad Wood – The biggest pick-up of all of Stoops' JC players. Has been the team's best pass catcher this year.

A look at the Mackovic classes are even more depressing.


Not a lot of impact players here. In fact there were very few who even finished their careers at Arizona.

Matt Lamatch – Had the size, but not the talent of aggressiveness. He left the program early in his first fall camp.

Javier Martinez – Came in as a tight end, moved to defensive end. Saw more action in the police blotter than he did in the stat sheet.

Luis Nunez – Spent two and a half years in the program and saw quite a bit of action. Left the team in the middle of last season.

Andre Torrey – The real gem of the JC class. After an injury his first year he was a two-year contributor, including a starter last year. Signed a free agent NFL deal after last season and spent a few weeks on the New England practice squad.

Carl Tuitavuki – A two-year starter who was a nice, solid player.

Juan Valentine – Played two years for the Cats and made little, if any impact. Played one year for Mackovic then sat out a season before rejoining the team last season.

That year the Cats also got commitments from Robert Jordan and Peni Holakeituai but neither could enroll academically and wound up playing at Kansas State.


Phillip Clark – The Cats "stole" Clark away from UNLV. He never played for the Wildcats. The big lineman left the team before his first game.

Tommy Briggs – Academically ineligible. Never enrolled at Arizona.

Ray Gurley – Academically ineligible. Never enrolled at Arizona.

Ryan Patterson – Academically ineligible. Never enrolled at Arizona.

John Rattay – Rattay originally transferred from Tennessee to Arizona then left to attend Pasadena CC. A severe knee injury left him without any D-I scholarships so he walked on at Arizona. He re-injured the knee and never took another snap for the Cats.

Tom Robinson – Played one year for the Cats. Was an offensive lineman and the primary long snapper. Left school following that one season.

David Sharp – Enrolled at Arizona and was later found to have academic issues which led to him leaving the program rather than sit out.

Zeonte Sherman – Was a two-year contributor at defensive back. Not a huge impact player, but he was a key second teamer.

Marquell Stinson – Was a reserve linebacker for the Cats his first year. Left the team before the start of 2004 fall camp.

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