2008 Early Look: QB and RB

The 2007 class has been signed, now it is time to focus on 2008. The first positions we'll take a look at are quarterback and running back.

Quarterback:

The Cats are in good shape at quarterback. Willie Tuitama returns as the incumbent, and there could be a very good battle for the No. 2 job.

The Cats want a passer in every class and are close to doing just that. They lack a sophomore but in 2008 should have a senior, sophomore and two freshmen on the roster.

Quarterbacks on the roster:
Seniors: Kris Heavner**
Juniors: Willie Tuitama
Sophomores: none
Freshmen: Tyler Lyon*, Bryson Beirne, Jimmy Bevell**
*=Has used a redshirt **=Non-scholarship player

Need: 1-2

The Cats will want to add one quarterback for sure and could add two depending on how the staff feels about the possible successors to Willie Tuitama.

Right now Chandler Hamilton's Gerell Robinson is committed to the Wildcats but that may not be the solution to the Wildcats' quarterback pursuit. Although he was promised the opportunity to play QB for the Wildcats, he has been touted as an elite WR and may want to pursue the position.

Another potential trip-up could be the pursuit of big time programs. Robinson has admitted that he is going to look at all his options and has listed USC and Notre Dame as schools he'd consider visiting.

It is very, very early in the process, but already a number of passing prospects are listing the Wildcats.

Darius Banks (6-1, 180, Crespi Carmelite HS, Encino, CA)
Bryan Berens (6-2, 205, Brophy Prep, Phoenix, AZ)
Dominique Blackman (6-4, 225, Carson Senior HS, Carson, CA)
Michael Goodnight (6-4, 205, Westside, Houston, TX)
Nick Owens (6-1, 180, (Westlake HS, Westlake Village, CA)

Running Back

This year the Cats will be without Chris Henry and by 2008 Chris Jennings will be gone. Basically as the Wildcat staff really starts to recruit the 2008 class, they don't really know what they have. Although five intriguing players are on the roster, only one has seen any D-I action.

Of course that will change by 2008. By then the Cats will know what they have and maybe by mid-year they will know exactly how the group of young runners are shaping up, but before then the Cats will have to pursue a number of running back prospects.

Running backs on the roster:
Seniors: Chris Jennings
Juniors: none
Sophomores: Xavier Smith*, Terry Longbons*
Freshmen: Glyndon Bolasky*, Joseph Reese, Nicolas Grigsby
*=Has used a redshirt

Need: 1-2

Just how many backs the Cats needs is still up for debate. About the only known commodity is Smith and even he hasn't shown that he is an every down back. Longbons has never been healthy while Bolasky is trying to overcome a knee injury and has been mentioned as a possible defensive back down the line.

Wildcat coaches are high on the two freshmen Reese and Grigsby, but it is hard to place a ton of faith in a two true freshmen. Grigsby has been described as a "traditional runner' but Reese has the speed and size to play a couple of different positions.

Interestingly enough, Arizona has a number of solid running back prospects. Jamal Womble, Ray Polk and James Morrison are among the top backs in the state who look to be high D-I prospects.

Some of the running backs listing the Wildcats are:

Ryan Bass (5-10, 185, Centennial HS, Corona, CA)
Cyrus Gray (5-11, 190, De Soto HS, Desoto, TX)
James Morrison (5-11, 200, St. Mary's, Phoenix, AZ)
Ray Polk (6-2, 190, Brophy Prep, Phoenix, AZ)
Marselius Williams (6-0, 210, Grant Union HS, Sacramento, CA)
Jamal Womble (5-11, 215, Buena HS, Sierra Vista, AZ)

Of course it is very early in the recruiting process. The Wildcats are still evaluating prospects and with combines and camps to come a lot of names will surface.


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