Class fills needs

All those little stars are pretty. All of the rankings are fun to follow, but the true test of a recruiting class is how well it feels a need. In the case of the Wildcats' 2007 class, it may not be the highest rated, but it accomplishes a lot in filling needs.

You can argue the Cats filled every need with the exception of offensive line. With their lone verbal commitment Sione Tau on the fence as of Wednesday morning, there is a slight chance that the Wildcats will fail to sign an offensive lineman. While that is not a good thing, the Cats currently have 11 scholarship offensive linemen and could convert a tight end or two if a few guys bulk up.

At every other position the Cats have brought in quality athletes. In some cases the Cats failed to bring in the highest rated players they were in on, but they brought in solid, talented players who can help the program.

Quarterback: Bryson Beirne (6-3, 215, Mid-Pacific Institute, Honolulu, HI)
Lost: Adam Austin
Although Beirne was originally chosen by Mike Canales, new offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes kept in on the strong armed Hawaiian. Add walk-on Jimmy Bevell to the mix and the Cats seem to have adequately addressed any need for young passers.

Running Backs: Nicholas Grigsby (5-11, 190, St. Paul HS, Santa Fe Springs, CA)
Joseph Reese (6-2, 180, Hendrickson HS, Pflugerville, TX)
Lost: Chris Henry
The Wildcats lose one, but add two. Both Reese and Grigsby are versatile backs who can also catch the ball and should fit in well in the new spread offense. With a mostly unproven crop of runners left on the roster, getting two backs in the class is a key. The Cats also gave a scholarship to former walk-on Chris Jennings.

Wide Receiver: David Roberts (6-1, 175, Rancho Cucamonga HS, Rancho Cucamonga, CA)
Devin Veal (6-1, 175, Buena HS, Sierra Vista, AZ)
William Wright (5-10, 170, Pauls Valley HS, Pauls Valley, OK)
Lost:Syndric Steptoe
The Cats needed bodies and added them. With just two experienced wide outs on the squad the Cats wanted more options. Add to that the new offense that relies on multiple receiver sets and the Cats could very well need the three incoming freshmen to add to last year's three-man class as well as veterans Anthony Johnson, Mike Thomas, B.J. Dennard and Bobby McCoy. Reggie Dunn is another wide receiver on the market who will select between Arizona and Oregon State on Wednesday afternoon and if he chooses the Cats he'd further bolster this crop.

Tight End Rob Gronkowski (6-6, 250, Woodland Hills SHS, Pittsburgh, PA)
Lost: Brad Wood
Wood was not much of a factor a year ago but the Cats will lose three tight ends after this season and could see some of their young tight ends converted to offensive or defensive line. Add to that the fact that Gronkowski is the highest rated player in the class and you get a player who could see the field early on.

Offensive Line Sione Tau (6-6, 285, Damien Memorial HS, Honolulu, HI)
Lost: Tanner Bell, Erick Levitre, Adam Hawes, Dylan Hansen, Eddie Rollman and Joe Baresi
Baresi, Rollman and Hansen were all lost before the season, but that does not mean they won't have long term affect on the program. Bell and Levitre were not factors a year ago, but Hawes started most of the season. To make matters worse, Tau may not sign with Arizona. On Tuesday night he was still verbally committed to the Wildcats, but was seriously considering Colorado. Conceivably the Cats could not sign a single offensive lineman, while losing six since last summer.

Place Kicker Alex Zendejas (6-0, 170, Ironwood HS, Glendale, AZ)
Lost: Nick Folk
Folk will be tough to replace, but Zendejas has the pedigree. He is the first scholarship kicker of the Stoops era and the first since Jason Bondzio.

Defensive Tackle: Hans Philipp (6-1, 282, Arroyo Valley HS, San Bernardino, CA)
Kaniela Tuipulotu (6-2, 265, Kahuku HS, Kahuku, HI)
Lost: Marcus Smith, Paul Philipp (possible)
The Cats add two talented DT's and may only lose one. Right now Hans' brother Paul is awaiting word on whether or not the Wildcats will apply for a sixth year of eligibility. Both incoming freshmen will likely redshirt and bulk-up but that could change over the course of fall camp.

Defensive End: LeVar Brown (6-3, 240, Lamar Cons HS, Rosenberg, TX)
Ron Jackson (6-4, 225, Creekview HS, Carrollton, TX)
Lost: none
The Cats do not lose a scholarship defensive end, so neither player will be needed this season. In addition to returning their top ends, the Cats will add redshirts Ricky Elmore and Deaundre Reed to the mix. Brown could have some grade issues.

Linebackers: Apaiata Tuihalamaka (6-4, 225, Junipero Serra HS, Gardena, CA)
Vuna Tuihalamaka (6-2, 230, El Camino CC)
Lost: John McKinney, Akin Akinniyi
The Cats lose two and add two. Neither of the senior were much in the way of impact players, in fact Akinniyi did not play a snap last year. Both of the Tuihalamaka cousins are talented, but may get to redshirt due to Arizona's great depth and talent at linebacker.

Defensive Backs: Marquis Hundley (5-10, 170, Santa Rosa JC, Napa, CA)
Trevin Wade (5-11, 165, Stony Point HS, Round Rock, TX)
Lost: Michael Johnson, Marcus Hollingsworth
The Cats lost just two seniors and got great news when Antoine Cason returned. Although both Hundley and Wade will get a shot to play right away, it may not be necessary with so much talent returning.

Punter: None
Lost:Nick Folk
The Cats do not add a punter in the class but did extend a scholarship to walk-on Keenyn Crier.

The Wildcats may not be done. They have a handful of scholarships remaining. There are a few players still on the board, and you never know what surprises could drop late in the process. There have been some rumors about possible de-commits from other programs looking at Arizona.

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