Arizona football recruiting: A surprisingly strong class down in the desert

Christian Petersen

Rich Rodriguez has all the makings of a good class ready to provide immediate help on the field.

Quick, guess which team is currently first in the Pac-12 recruiting rankings. No, not USC. Not UCLA, either. And despite the recent dominance displayed by both programs, Oregon and Stanford are wrong guesses as well.

The surprising answer to that question is Arizona -- Rich Rodriguez and his staff have put together an impressive class so far, one that is not only tops in the Pac-12, but ranked 18th in the country as well. It may not take long to see the impact of this class, either -- the Wildcats have six JuCo players committed for 2014.

New Wildcats

August was a good month for the Wildcats, as they gained a total of five commitments. Linebackers Antonio Smothers, Jamardre Cobb and Marquis Ware, safety Jamie Byrd and defensive tackle Jeff Worthy all decided last month to play their college ball in Tucson.

Smothers, Byrd and Worthy are all highly-rated JuCo transfers, with Smothers being the biggest talent in the group. Rodriguez won a major victory by getting a commitment from the 6'1, 230 pounder out of Scottsdale (Az.) Community -- Smothers is not only a four-star player on the 247Sports composite, but the No. 2 JuCo linebacker in the country. Cobb and Ware are a pair of four-star linebackers themselves after playing high school ball together at Los Angeles (Ca.) Salesian.

Other highlights for the Wildcats' 2014 class include cornerback Cameron Denson -- rated four-stars on the 247Sports composite and the third-ranked player in Arizona -- and running back Nick Wilson from Fresno (Ca.) Central East. Wilson is also rated four-stars according to 247Sports. He will be joined in Tucson by high school teammates Devon Brewer, a three-star cornerback, and Sharif Williams, a three-star defensive tackle.

On target

Despite the good start, the Wildcats certainly aren't done for 2014.

Arizona looks good for Nattrell Curtis, an offensive/defensive lineman from Phoenix's Mountain Point High School. Curtis has several Pac-12 offers, and the four-star would be a big get for the Wildcats.

Arizona would also like to land four-star offensive tackle Andrew Mike, of Tuscon, and four-star receiver Jalen Brown, of Phoenix, but is not currently viewed as the favorite for either.

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