Arizona’s momentum helping coach Rich Rodriguez on recruiting trail


At some point Sunday or Monday, Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez will sit down with each of his assistant coaches and talk recruiting.

There’ll be plenty to discuss.

Rodriguez and every coach on his staff hit the road this past week to check in on several class of 2015 recruits. He’ll go over specific players and positions with his coaches and get details.

But Rodriguez has a pretty good idea how things are going for the Wildcats on the recruiting trail these days.

“I think winning helps everything,” Rodriguez said Saturday after his team’s 90-minute practice. “It was a good week. I haven’t had a chance to sit down with the coaches and see what the response was, but it’s pretty positive right now throughout the country.”

How could it not be?

2012 8-5 Fourth 38.2
2013 8-5 Fourth 33.5
2014 10-3 First 34.8

Despite a lopsided loss to Oregon in the Pac-12 championship game, Rodriguez and the Wildcats have plenty to sell these days. Rodriguez’s squad is 10-3 heading into the Dec. 31 Fiesta Bowl, and has a Pac-12 South title to show recruits.

All coaching staffs are given two weeks to recruit in December before a so-called “dead period.” But since the Wildcats played in the Pac-12 title game, Arizona’s recruiting schedule was cut short by a week.

To make up for it, Rodriguez zigzagged across the country this past week to check in with prospects. He mainly met with players who are already committed to the Wildcats but also visited a few who haven’t announced their college choices yet.

Perhaps the most notable uncommitted player Rodriguez visited was four-star linebacker Arthur McGinnis, a New Orleans high school product who has a top five of Arizona, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Georgia and Texas A&M. His high school teammate, Kendal Franklin, is already committed to Arizona.

Listed at 6-foot-2 and 224 pounds, McGinnis, who tweeted that members of the UA staff visited him, is an outside linebacker with size and speed who could potentially complement Scooby Wright.

The Wildcats have 22 known commitments for 2015, giving them room to snag pledges from at least three more players for the class. Once Rodriguez and his staff returned from the road, they hosted several players on official visits this weekend and took them to the Arizona-Michigan basketball game.

Most of the visitors have already committed to the Wildcats.

The one known exception was four-star defensive lineman Joseph Wicker, a Long Beach (California) Poly High product who visited Arizona after checking out Oklahoma last weekend.

Wicker, listed at 6-foot-4 and 275 pounds, is considering Arizona, Oklahoma, Arizona State, Texas Tech, UCLA and several other schools.

Arizona is also a finalist for in-state three-star linebacker Dedrick Young, who will announce his decision Monday. Young, a Peoria Centennial High School product, has a final three of Arizona, Nebraska and Washington.

While Rodriguez can’t talk about individual recruits per NCAA rules, his expectation is that the UA’s appearance in the Fiesta Bowl will help his program’s recruiting efforts after a strong season.

“It’s one of the big six bowls, and it’s something that gets a lot of attention,” Rodriguez said. “All of the bowls get some attention, but I think the big six get more.”

Scott Harrigan
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