Arizona has had a very up and down recruiting season. They did receive the verbal commitment from JC cornerback Marquis Hundley. He's a speedy corner who has three years to play two and is more than willing to redshirt if Antoine Cason comes back and he cannot unseat one of the incumbents.
On a negative side, the Cats had two de-commits. Early in the week Mario Goins committed to Arizona but then received a scholarship offer from Wisconsin and changed his mind and pledged to the Badgers. Junior college defensive end Will Tukuafu was so intent on committing to Arizona that he held a small press conference to announce his choice. That was then. Last week he changed his mind and committed to Oregon. De-commitments are not that unusual, but to be a spring transfer junior college players and hold a press conference is a little strange. Even stranger is the fact that at the press conference he had five hats to choose from, and Oregon was not one of them. Of course I thought that was strange at the time as the rumors before his press session was that Oregon was among the favorites.
The Cats also lost out on DB/WR Jared Flannel. He committed to Texas Tech, in large part because they were one of the few teams that recruited him as an offensive player. It seems as if the Cats wanted him to play DB.
I was very impressed with both Marcus Williams and Chase Budinger. Williams rebounded from a rough outing against Louisville, with his best game of his young Wildcat career. He really hit the glass hard and took good, smart shots.
Budinger had hit his first pothole of his Wildcat career. In front of his home town crowd, who were booing him relentlessly, he had a bad statistical game. He made just two field goals and finished with five points. Despite that, you never got the feeling he was playing bad. He was off, but was not making a ton of mistakes. He did not force too much and played very good defense. A lot of young players would try to force the issue or get down on themselves and sulk, Budinger did neither.
Considering how bad Arizona was defensively early in the season, they have rebounded pretty quickly. The Cats have won their last two games with defense. They still have a ways to go, but their length is making good looks difficult on teams. The zone has been quite effective in forcing teams into shooting threes and their size on perimeter makes it tough for teams to get long looks at the bucket. Teams are getting open looks, but they have to rush the shots to avoid a long Wildcat running at them.
Really good catch and shoot players can have some success, but most teams don't have a Salim Stoudamire or J.J. Reddick on their roster.
Rumors abound about possible changes or a lack of changes on the Wildcat football staff. What we know for sure is that Sonny Dykes is in the fold and they still must find a replacement for Charlie Williams, who went to North Carolina. Mike Stoops said in his press conference that he did not expect more changes, but did not rule it out.
My guess is that we are not done seeing changes to the staff, but they won't be wholesale. Don't be shocked if at least one more coach leaves to pursue other opportunities.
The future of J.P. Prince at Arizona could be decided as early as this week. Prince has been out of uniform for several weeks and has not been traveling with the team. Prince had a virus that kept him out of action, but that is not the sole reason that Prince is not in uniform. We've been told the final decision is up to Lute Olson.
In case you missed it, Washington State holds a half game lead in the battle for the state of Washington. The Cougars beat Gonzaga, while the Bulldogs turned around and beat Washington. If WSU can split with the Dawgs they would win the state.
Actually the Cougars are off to a surprisingly solid start. They don't exactly face a murderous schedule, but Tony Bennett has started his head coaching career in fine fashion.
While Sonny Dykes certainly has the resume and pedigree, one other trait may have helped him land the gig with the Cats. His personality. Like many of the UA coaches, Dykes is a fiery presence on game day. He has no problem raising his voice. One source close to the situation said that Dykes will have no problem hearing an earful from Mike Stoops.
With coaches left and right turning down the Alabama job, one of the best candidates out there may be very familiar with the situation in Tuscaloosa. Mike Price. Yup, Price would be a very attractive option right now had he not already been the Alabama coach for about six months.
For such a storied program, the Tide has had a very difficult time replacing Mike Shula. Maybe it is the fact that fans are unhappy with 10-win seasons. Shula's 26-23 record may be pretty attractive if the search continues to drag on.
Tucson OL Kris O'Dowd has a press conference on Thursday where he is expected to announce his college intention. He has narrowed it down to Arizona, UCLA, USC and Tennessee. The Cats have a legitimate shot at the Salpointe product, but this one could really go any way. Depending on who you talk to (O'Dowd himself is playing it close to the vest) any of the four are the leader. I have no idea who he will choose, but the Wildcats have made up a lot of ground in recent weeks and word is his UCLA visit went really well. That being said, USC has long been in good shape and Tennessee has done a great job in his recruitment.
Chicago DB Devin Hester set an NFL record with six special teams returns for touchdowns. He got two kickoff returns in Monday night's game against St. Louis to set the record. One of his coaches early in his college career at Miami was Arizona's Mark Stoops.