It has been an on-going struggle for both the Arizona Wildcat and Arizona State Sun Devil football programs to keep the best prospects in their own back yard in-state.
As someone who is one of the few, the proud, the native Arizonan, I find it very frustrating that it has even reached this point to begin with. I am very happy for players like Brett Hundley of UCLA via Chandler, Tyler Johnstone starting at left tackle for the BCS bound Oregon Ducks via Hamilton and Devonte Neal returning punts for the national championship bound Notre Dame via Chaparral. And those are just a few. But would I like to see more of the Ka’Deem Carey’s and D.J. Foster’s? No question!
Todd Graham and Rich Rodriguez’s staff has made it clear that they want to keep the best in the state in-state. Upon finishing up year one it’s not looking to good for this senior class. ASU is still in the mix on Priest Willis and Devon Allen and have already landed Chans Cox but that is about it. U of A is not in on any of the top prospects.
Don’t get me wrong, I like players like Nick Brown of Florence for ASU. My colleague Jason Jewell draws a great comparison of him to Jamal Miles. DeAndre Miller as well as the Marcos guys (Lee and Elvira) could be good for U of A and make an impact for the program. Some sooner than others. But when I see names like Kenny Lacy, Cole Luke, Tyler Bruggman, Ryan Finley and others all committed elsewhere, it’s head scratching.
If both Arizona schools want to make a statement to future in-state players, they have a golden opportunity for the 2014 class. It might be one of the best classes I’ve seen in quite some time. Desert Mountain’s Kyle Allen and Mark Andrews, Mountain Pointe’s Jalen Brown and Natrell Curtis, Cameron Denson at Salpointe, JR Hunt Chandler, and Bryant O’Georgia at North Canyon. The list keeps going. Casey Tucker at Hamilton is the lone major prospect committed outside of Arizona as of now.
These are all impact players in my eyes and most have the Arizona schools on their lists. What dent Graham and Rodriguez can make on that class I think could set a tone going forward and maybe seeing what success players like this could have at the next level, could make the Wildcats and Sun Devils more attractive destinations to those looking to become local heroes.