A rarity for Arizona football — the top recruit in the stateby Anthony Gimino on Jan. 09, 2010, under Sports
The Arizona Wildcats football team received a commitment Saturday afternoon from safety Marquis Flowers, giving UA a rarity — the top-rated player in the state.
At least that’s how Rivals.com currently ranks Flowers, from Millennium High School in Goodyear. Flowers made his choice during the Army All-American all-star game, picking the Wildcats over UCLA, ASU and USC.
“Mike Stoops is making a statement getting Marquis Flowers,” recruiting analyst Tom Lemmings said on the telecast. “For Arizona State and Arizona, to become elite teams, they have to keep the best ballplayers at home.”
That certainly helps, even though there are still only a handful of elite recruits in the state. USC has done a nice job recently of poaching those elite recruits — Devon Kennard, Everson Griffen, Kristofer O’Dowd (see list below) — while Arizona State is often next in line.
But the Wildcats grabbed highly rated safety Adam Hall from Palo Verde High last season and now have landed Flowers, whose all-around skills were on full display as a senior. He had 62 tackles and two interceptions last season, also rushing 135 times for 1,247 yards and 16 touchdowns. He caught 13 passes for 162 yards.
A bio on the Arizona Republic’s web site lists Flowers at 6-3, 195 pounds and says this:
“Easily passes the eye-ball test, there seems to be no position he can’t play. He can move from outside linebacker to safety to end on defense. On offense, you can put him at receiver or running back. He could be this year’s version of Adam Hall, last year’s Big School Player of the Year from Tucson Palo Verde, who is now at the University of Arizona.”
Here are the past seven top-rated players in the state (as rated by Rivals.com) and how they are faring/have fared since then:
2009 — DE Devon Kennard (Phoenix Desert Vista), USC
Made 34 tackles as a true freshman and played some outside linebacker late in the season. He had eight tackles in the regular-season finale against Arizona.
2008 — ATH Gerell Robinson (Chandler Hamilton), ASU
Once committed to Arizona, he was disappointing in his first two seasons at Arizona State. Robinson had 26 catches for 261 yards as a sophomore.
2007 — DE Everson Griffen (Avondale Agua Fria), USC
Had eight sacks as a junior and then declared for the NFL Draft without living up to his hype as a national top-10 prospect. Salpointe Catholic center Kristofer O’Dowd (USC) was ranked second in the state this season, but would have been No. 1 in most years.
2006 — DE Jermaine Williams (Phoenix Maryvale), ASU
Failed to qualify academically.
2005 — DT Ekom Udofia (Scottsdale Chaparral), Stanford
Turned into a solid plugger in the middle of the Stanford line who had 36 tackles as a fifth-year senior.
2004 — TE Zach Miller (Phoenix Desert Vista), ASU
Developed into a first-team All-Pac-10 player as a junior in 2006 and has had an increasingly good career with the quarterback-challenged Oakland Raiders.
2003 — DE Kyle Caldwell (Scottsdale Saguaro), ASU
Was a three-year starter for the Sun Devils, compiling 10.5 sacks and 17 tackles for loss.
One final thought: For as good as Flowers might be, getting the No. 1 player in the state next year — CDO running back Ka’Deem Carey — will be 10 times as important
More on Flowers from ESPN Rise Magazine:
Flowers is must-see on the gridiron