The In-State Battle
All three of the head coaches at the division-one programs have proclaimed at one time or another that they “want to build a fence around the state.” I think all three have done a fine job in recent memory of recruiting our local players. In total, 26 players with ties to Arizona signed to stay in-state. Here is a look at the three recruiting class:
Drew Dixon ATH Sabino
Bryce Gilbert TE Higley
Jalen Harris OLB Desert Ridge
My-King Johnson DE Tempe
Rhett Rodriguez QB Catalina Foothills
D.J. Davidson DT Desert Ridge
Curtis Hodges WR Mountain View
K.J. Jarrell S Saguaro
Tyler Johnson ATH Highland
Ryan Kelley QB Basha
Brandon Ruiz K Williams Field
Kyle Soelle LB Saguaro
Corey Stephens OL Saguaro
Mark Walton TE Cibola
Brandon Boyce DT Saguaro
Chance Brewington WR Hamilton
Terrell Brown WR Basha
Jaeren Burch WR Phoenix College (Perry)
Sirgeo Hoffman RB Pima CC
Matt Kempton TE Brophy
Jonas Leader OL Canyon del Oro
Spencer Lewis OL Phoenix College (Red Mountain)
Max Michalczik TE Catalina Foothills
Eddie Rivas OL Mountain Pointe
Sione Talakai DL Eastern Arizona
Justis Stokes WR Williams Field
Who won the battle? NAU certainly signed the most, with 12. But they do recruit a different level of player. Arizona State signed nine this year, including three four-star prospects. Kicker Brandon Ruiz will be asked to play right away. He was committed to Alabama for months before flipping to the Devils. UofA is in need of lengthy defenders that can get to the quarterback and got two of them in Harris and Johnson.
USC – The Trojans came into Arizona and snagged the top two prospects in the state in offensive tackle Austin Jackson from North Canyon and safety Isaiah Pola-Mao from Mountain Pointe.
UCLA – The Bruins landed three very good players from the trenches. Saguaro teammates Jax Wacaser and Sean Seawards were late bloomers and their recruiting was off the charts late in the game. Wacaser ended with 19 scholarship offers while Seawards got all three of his FBS offers two weeks before signing day. Throw in talented defensive end Odua Isibor from St. Mary’s and Michigan State transfer Cassius Peat, originally from Corona del Sol, and this is a very successful haul from Arizona for UCLA.
Idaho – Just days ago, I would have placed the Vandals in the “Winners” category. They inked Desert Edge back Roshaun Johnson but had two late flips that hurt. Hamilton wide receiver C.J. Jarmon decided to take a greyshirt opportunity at LSU while Chandler receiver Ryan Johnson flipped to Southern Utah on signing day eve.
Adams State – We all remember last Spring when seemingly every kid in Arizona received an Adams State offer. It paid off in the signing of just one player from the Grand Canyon State, Desert Vista fullback Daniel Woodis.
Steals of the Class
* Chance Brewington – Hamilton Wide Receiver – This is a guy that was recruited by most of the Mountain West and seemed headed to Utah State but similar to John Okwoli last year, schools filled up and Brewington signed with NAU. The Lumberjacks need to give receiver’s coach Aaron Pflugrad a raise, considering the group of East Valley receivers he signed. Brewington, Basha’s Terrell Brown and Williams Fields’ Justis Stokes will make noise in Flagstaff for years to come.
* Daniel Callender – Yuma Catholic Defensive End – This kid had a Big 10 offer from Illinois and decided to trip to South Dakota State. He loved the visit to SDSU so much that he cancelled trips to New Mexico, Wyoming and Hawaii.