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Local stars Hall, Fischer sign with Wildcats

Citizen Staff Writer



As Arizona’s football program went through tough times over the past decade, some local high school stars took notice and grabbed other scholarship offers.

What a difference a winning season makes. With the Wildcats coming off their first bowl victory since 1998, local standouts are feeling good about staying home.

Palo Verde safety Adam Hall and Ironwood Ridge linebacker Jake Fischer officially became Wildcats during national signing day on Wednesday.

They were among 21 players to ink UA letters of intent, joining a 2009 recruiting class of 24, which included the late addition of former Tennessee defensive tackle recruit Jonathan Hollins (see story, 3C). Three members of the class are already enrolled.

“Everyone wants to go to a good program,” Fischer said. “Now that the UA is one of the better teams in the Pac-10, I’m sure people are going to be staying home.”

Convincing local players that the program in their own backyard has turned the corner has been difficult for UA coach Mike Stoops.

Stage one has been completed with Hall bypassing such powerhouses as USC, Alabama, Oregon and California to play for Arizona. Fischer said no to Colorado and received interest from other Pac-10 schools.

“I think it’s great for our community. People follow these guys from high school,” Stoops said. “To have them stay home and hopefully have great success is very important.”

The Wildcats lured some locals recently, such as tailback Xavier Smith (Sunnyside) and defensive end Brooks Reed (Sabino), but the sell was difficult.

It is tougher to hide Arizona’s faults from the hometown kids. They knew the Wildcats hadn’t had a winning season since 1998.

But a 31-21 victory over BYU in the Las Vegas Bowl in December helped change perceptions.

“They’ve had the talent the last couple of years, but they finally got over the hump and got to a bowl game,” Fischer said. “It was good to see the program going in the right direction.”

Getting Hall to sign makes a statement.

The U.S. Army All-American could have gone anywhere, but he will play safety for the Cats.

The 6-foot-4, 205-pound star may not have to wait long to get on the field, either.

Stoops knew from the first game he watched Palo Verde play this year he had to get Hall – and not just for state bragging rights.

“Adam is a very dynamic player,” Stoops said. “The first thing I noticed when watching him play is he plays with such a violent speed. He likes collisions and he likes to attack people.

“He is a very physical presence on the field.”

Hall could have played receiver, running back, and heck, maybe even tight end. He’s going to start out at safety, and then see if he can also play at wide receiver.

“Adam certainly will have a chance to come in and play himself into the rotation,” Stoops said. “Receiver becomes a little more difficult at this level. You just can’t overpower people.

“There’s a great technique in running routes and the precision you have to do to get open. Right now his upside and long-term goals are to be a big-time safety. I think he can make a bigger impact quickly here at safety.”

Fischer didn’t wow a lot of people. They didn’t see him enough. But the Wildcats scouted him plenty just being across town.

“A lot of people want to categorize players by height, weight, blah, blah, blah. Certain people didn’t think he was tall enough,” Stoops said. “Jake has tremendous instincts, and a powerful size to go with that brain.

“He’s an undervalued player who has great instincts and he will do well in our system.”

Arizona still has some catching up to do in Phoenix. The Wildcats signed four in-state players, while Arizona State inked nine.

The Sun Devils won the biggest recruiting battle by getting Peoria tailback Jamal Miles.

The Wildcats did sign Chandler Hamilton cornerback Ryan Milus and Glendale Cactus offensive lineman Chris Putton.

“Phoenix is an area we would like to develop and get more players (there),” Stoops said. “For whatever reason, we have struggled at certain times. You (just) have to see years down the line how some of these kids pan out.”

Citizen High School Sports Editor Geoff Grammer contributed to this report.


Rivals.com ranks UA’s recruiting class seventh in the Pac-10, 45th nationally:

School Nat’l rank Players

1. USC 3 20

2. UCLA 16 26

3. Stanford 19 22

4. ASU 30 21

5. Oregon 37 25

6. California 40 18

7. ARIZONA 45 24

8. Oregon State 54 24

9. Washington 68 18

10. Washington St. 91 22


• Touted tailbacks sign with UA. 3C

• ASU steals linebacker from USC. 3C

• Alabama edges LSU for top spot. 3C

• UA’s signees, 3C; ASU’s list, 5C

• ASU excites Santa Rita’s Holliday. 4C

• Santa Rita’s Holliday

• Local recruiting here.


Pos. Player (Rivals’ stars) Ht. Wt. HS or JC/Hometown

OL Jake Baratz (2) 6-4 275 Naperville (Calif.) North

TE Jack Baucus (3) 6-6 235 Mundelein (Ill.) Carmel

CB Marcus Benjamin (3) 6-1 200 Arizona Western JC

TB Kylan Butler (3) 5-6 180 Concord (Calif.) De La Salle

WR Travis Cobb (3) 6-0 180 Blinn (Texas) JC

LB Trevor Erno (4) 6-0 225 Lakewood (Calif.)

LB Jake Fischer (3) 5-11 225 Ironwood Ridge (Tucson)

LB Cordarius Golston (3) 6-1 220 Lancaster (Texas)

ATH Adam Hall (4) 6-4 195 Palo Verde (Tucson)

DT Jonathan Hollins (3) 6-3 295 Baton Rouge (La.) Redemptorist/Canyons JC

TB Daniel Jenkins (4) 5-9 170 Moreno Valley (Calif.) Rancho Verde

OL Jack Julsing (3) 6-8 315 Palm Desert, Calif. (College of Desert JC)

TE Terrence Miller (3) 6-4 215 Moreno Valley (Calif.) Rancho Verde

CB Ryan Milus (3) 5-10 155 Chandler Hamilton

QB Richard Morrison (3) 6-0 170 Royse City (Texas)

LB C.J. Parish (3) 6-2 238 Brenham, Texas (Blinn JC)

WR Dewayne Peace (3) 6-0 177 Grand Prairie, Texas

DE Jackson Powell (3) 6-5 235 Newbury Park (Calif.)

OT Chris Putton (3) 6-4 275 Glendale Cactus

ATH Derrick Rainey (2) 6-2 185 Houston Northbrook

DT Sione Tuihalamaka (3) 6-2 275 Gardena (Calif.) Junipero Serra

DE Taimi Tutogi (3) 6-1 260 Chula Vista, Calif.

DE Justin Washington (2) 6-3 260 Cypress, Texas

OL Shane Zink (2) 6-7 290 Redding, Calif. (Shasta JC)

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