In 2013, Arizona showed flashes of breaking into the upper half of the Pac-12 and seemed to save its best football for last, blowing out Oregon 42-16 in the Wildcats' penultimate regular season contest and dispatching Boston College by a similar 42-19 margin in the Advocare V100 Bowl (the postseason contest formerly known as the Independence Bowl). Rich Rodriguez and company appear to be doing everything they can to capitalize on that forward momentum, having assembled one of Arizona's strongest recruiting classes in recent memory.
|Total commits||Five-star prospects||Four-star prospects|
Update, Feb 5: The Wildcats have added three-star defensive tackle Marcus Griffin, winning out over Washington State and Cal.
Twenty-eight prospects comprise Arizona's 2014 class, of which a modest four are rated four stars. Even though the Wildcats' signing class isn't overflowing with star power, the fact that seven of their new players have enrolled early should increase the odds that they will make contributions as first-year players.
The state of Arizona isn't exactly fertile ground for high school football talent, but the nearby Golden State is overrun with FBS talent. Like in-state rivals Arizona State, the Wildcats consistently dip into California to augment their recruiting classes. In 2014, a whopping 14 of Arizona's commits hail from California, to go along with eight in-state recruits.
The Wildcats' 2014 signing class appears to be a relatively balanced one. Arizona has obtained commitments from 13 offensive players and 11 defensive players (plus a kicker and a pair of multi-positional athletes).
Jeff Worthy, a three-star defensive tackle out of Santa Ana College in California, has a short time to play at Arizona because of the time he spent at junior college, so enrolling early will be a big help in his quest to play early on. Worthy chose the Wildcats over a handful of west coast programs, including Colorado and Fresno State. He originally committed to play at Boise State out of high school. Worthy is rated as the No. 14 JUCO defensive tackle and the No. 83 junior college player nationally.
Worthy was joined in Tucson by Jonathan Haden, a high school senior who graduated in December. Haden is an impressive all-purpose running back recruit out of Friendship Academy in Washington D.C. He is rated three stars by the 247Sports composite -- a combination of the four major recruit rating services -- and is rated the 10th APB recruit nationally. He also held offers from Ohio State and West Virginia, among others.
Kaige Lawrence, Jerod Cody, Antonio Smothers, Patrick Glover and Jerrard Randall are the other Wildcats set to arrive in Tucson for the spring semester.
The most highly-rated prospect in Arizona's 2014 class -- early enrollee or not -- is four-star cornerback Cameron Denson of Tucson (Ariz.) Salpointe Catholic. Denson was the first to join the Wildcats' class, committing to Arizona in January 2013 over offers from Oklahoma State, West Virginia, Arizona State, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, and UCLA. He is the No. 15 cornerback and the No. 152 overall prospect in the 2014 class according to the 247Sports Composite index.
Joining Denson in the Wildcats' back seven will be four-star outside linebacker Marquis Ware of Los Angeles (Calif.) Bishop Mora Salesian. Ware chose the Wildcats over offers from Arizona State, Florida State, Miami, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Stanford, Texas A&M, and Vanderbilt. He is ranked as the 16th-best outside linebacker per the 247Sports Composite index and the 191st overall prospect in the 2014 class.
Accompanying Ware in Tucson will be Bishop Mora Salesian teammate Jarmardre Cobb, who also happens to be a four-star linebacker. Cobb and Ware committed together on Aug. 21 and had offers from many of the same schools. (Cobb was offered by Wisconsin; Denson was not. Other than that, there offer sheets are virtually identical.)