Arizona loads up with another class of Rodriguez's 'kind of guys'
FEB 05, 2014 7:10p ET
TUCSON, Ariz. -- Bigger, stronger, faster -- that's what Arizona football coach Rich Rodriguez believes he got in his third recruiting class.
"We got a little bit of everything in this recruiting class," Rodriguez said Wednesday in discussing his 25-player class. "I think we've met a lot of our needs and some of our wants."
Of course, every class is supposed to be like that or coaches are out of jobs.
For Rodriguez, his third class at Arizona is the highest-ranked by the various recruiting services. Scout.com ranked the class No. 24 overall.
Nine recruits are already enrolled and will be ready to start in spring practice.
"I don't know how many will play as freshmen, but quite a few of them could have an impact right away," Rodriguez said.
More than half of last year's incoming recruits played in their first fall on campus.
Rodriguez raved about the speed of this year's class on a number of occasions.
"We're so much faster today than we were yesterday," he said. "Athletic and faster. And we've got to get bigger."
Of the 25 players, 14 are listed as offensive players, 11 as defense. The offensive side is gaining two quarterbacks, two running backs, three wide receivers, two tight ends and five linemen.
The centerpiece of the class -- at least locally -- is Cam Denson, the all-state all-purpose player from Salpointe Catholic. He was the first recruit to commit to UA more than a year ago. Rodriguez called him the "headliner" of the group.
"He was the most least maintenance, high-profile guy we have ever recruited," Rodriguez said. "He just went and played ball and won a state championship ... He's been a real joy to recruit."
Rodriguez said Denson, a 6-foot-1, 170-pounder, will play receiver, special teams and possibly some defense.
"He's one of the best players in the state and one of the best athletes in the entire west," Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez also was effusive in praise of three defensive players from Bishop Mora Salesian High in the Los Angeles area: Linebackers Jamardre Cobb and Marquise Ware and defensive back Rodney Carr.
"You go 'wow,' these guys are explosive," Rodriguez said of watching tape on the three. "Some people tackle and some people will hit and tackle; Cobb and Ware will blow you up. These guys are going to be terrific for the program and are hungry."
And that's what Rodriguez is looking for -- players with a passion for the game. He continues to call them "OKG's" or "our kind of guys."
He's expecting two more to sign in the coming days.
The size of the class is large in more ways than one. Among the five new offensive linemen are a pair who stand 6-feet-8: Jordan Poland (La Jolla Country Day in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.) and Freddie Tagaloa (a transfer from California).
Defensive line, an area of need throughout Rodriguez's first two years, gained two junior college transfera in Jeff Worthy and Jerod Cody and was bolstered by late addition of 296-pound Marcus Griffin of Bellevue (Wash.) High.
"He's a big, athletic guy that will help us," Rodriguez said.
Of course, no class would not be complete without a quarterback or two, especially for a coach who likes to collect quarterbacks. With the addition of two more, Rodriguez could have as many as seven quarterbacks vying to replace now-departed B.J. Denker.
"People say I collect quarterbacks, and I do. It's better than collecting seashells," Rodriguez said. "You have to have at least two that can play. Your odds are better with eight than they are with four.
"We have a bunch of them, and they will all get reps. When I got a chance to meet the kid (Randall), thatâs when I was sold. He is has been there done that, done the junior college thing and just seems hungry. He had a little spark about him. I think he is hungry and talented, and Iâm really excited about him."
Helping to attract all the players was the new Lowell-Stevens facility, UA's $72 million addition to Arizona Stadium. In years past, UA didn't even show recruits the game-day locker rooms.
"The statement that it makes is that we are committed to football from a facility standpoint," Rodriguez said.
How the class turns out won't be determined until four years, but at least the clock has started.
"All fan bases get excited about signing day, as they should, but you have to give a class two to three years," Rodriguez said. "Some schools have had the top three or four signing classes and didn't even make a bowl game. Is recruiting the life and blood of our program? Absolutely. But this is just the start of it. This is just the beginning, and development is the next phase."