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Arizona football recruiting: Ranking Stoops’ best JC transfers

Vuna Tuihalamaka made 72 tackles for the Wildcats as a senior in 2009.
Photo by Chris Morrison-US PRESSWIRE

Arizona coach Mike Stoops has signed on average five junior college recruits in each of his previous seven recruiting classes.

That’s how many he is expected to sign this year.

Three signed in December and enrolled for the spring semester — tight end Drew Robinson, center Addison Bachman and punter Kyle Dugandzic. Two more are expected to be announced today — defensive end Lamar De Rego and kicker Jaimie Salazar.

Stoops hasn’t signed any superstar from junior college as Dick Tomey did during his Arizona day. Tomey brought in, among others, punter Josh Miller, cornerback Chris McAlister and offensive linemen Glenn Parker, Edwin Mulitalo and Frank Middleton.

That’s a lot of NFL playing time right there.

Stoops hasn’t hit home runs like that but has found a steady stream of important pieces from junior college. The somewhat equal nature of all those transfers makes it tricky to create a beat-of list … but we’ll try.

By the end of next season, linebacker Paul Vassallo could be at the top of the list.

Here goes … best Stoops’ junior college transfers:

1. S Nate Ness
Made 107 tackles and seven interceptions in his career.

2. S Michael Johnson
Made 107 tackles and five interceptions; went on to Super Bowl win with the New York Giants.

3. LB Paul Vassallo
Leds the Wildcats with 102 tackles, including eight for loss, last season.

4. OL Mike Diaz
Started 20 games in two years, including 11 at left tackle in 2009.

5. LB Vuna Tuihalamaka
He and fellow JC transfer linebacker Sterling Lewis were solid contributors.

Other notables include: cornerback Marquis Hundley, running back Chris Jennings (a walk-on), defensive end Louis Holmes (who never lived up to the hype of being the No. 1 JC recruit in the nation), safety Joseph Perkins, offensive tackle Phillip Garcia.

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