What do Arizona quarterback Nick Foles, wide receivers David Douglas and Richard Morrison, and running back Greg Nwoko have in common?
They are part of the Arizona offense, but more meaningful than that Sunday (when it was announced the Wildcats will play Oklahoma State in the 2010 Valero Alamo Bowl at San Antonio on Dec. 29): They know the best route to San Antonio from where they were raised in Texas.
Foles (from Austin, Texas), Douglas (McKinney), Morrison (Royce City), Nwoko (Pflugerville) are five of 15 players from Texas on Arizona’s roster. Defensive tackle Justin Washington (Cypress), cornerback Trevin Wade (Round Rock) and punter Keenyn Crier (Spring) also hail from the Lone Star state.
Arizona coach Mike Stoops and his staff already have four commitments from players in Texas for the Class of 2011 — nearly 25 percent of the group that currently has 17 committed members.
Two of the prospects are from Dallas — safety Kerry Swarn of Lincoln High and linebacker Rob Hankins of Parish Episcopal. The other potential future Wildcats from Texas include Southlake Carroll quarterback Daxx Garman (who could be Foles’ heir apparent) and Woodlands tight end Michael Cooper.
Arizona has played bowl games in Texas before, but those were in El Paso at the Sun Bowl (1969 and 1985) and John Hancock Bowl (1992). El Paso is far removed from the heart of Texas — the triangle of Dallas, Houston and San Antonio, which has a 713-mile radius. Austin is only 81 miles from San Antonio, so it’s a safe bet the entire Foles family will occupy some seats at the Alamodome.
This will be the eastern-most bowl game of Arizona’s program history. Very much to Stoops’ liking it will be where he and his staff battle for top talent against (among others) Texas, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State and Houston. The exposure over the next three weeks in the San Antonio-Austin area should help Arizona’s image there, especially if the Wildcats pull off an upset over the Cowboys, the No. 14 team in the BCS standings.