Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Future Arizona recruiting classes won’t be as far-flung

Linebacker Dakota Conwell — one of three signees from Pennsylvania — faxes in his letter and calls coach Rich Rodriguez.


Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez went wherever the recruiting winds took him in the past few weeks, taking the scenic route from Tucson to the northeast to the southeast and circling home again.

The result Wednesday was a 25-player recruiting class that very much bears the Rodriguez brand.

Three high school players from Florida. Three from Pennsylvania. And only three from Texas, which was more of a stronghold under Mike Stoops.

Arizona is bringing in more players from the Eastern Time Zone (seven) than the Pacific Time Zone (six).

“We were all over the country,” Rodriguez said. “It’s a by-product of the situation of our first year.”

The coaches simply had to use what they had.

First of all, the staff retained 10 of about 17 players who had committed to the previous coaching staff. That was a solid base.

Arizona worked the Phoenix area to add cornerback Jamar Allah, defensive end Dylan Cozens and linebacker Cody Ippolito, bringing the in-state total to six. If star receiver Davonte’ Neal signs, that would put Rodriguez in seventh heaven.

Beyond that, the Arizona coaches leaned on previous relationships to fill out the class.

Safeties coach Tony Gibson had been recruiting Dakota Conwell to Pittsburgh, and Conwell’s dad, Dane, was Rodriguez’s former teammate at West Virginia. The coaches flipped Conwell to Arizona.

Defensive back William Parks is another player who had been committed to Pitt before changing to Arizona. Three UA assistants — Gibson, receivers coach Tony Dews and co-offensive coordinator Calvin Magee — worked for the Panthers last season.

Cornerbacks coach David Lockwood, who had recruited running back J.T. Washington to West Virginia, got him to sign at Arizona. Quarterbacks coach Rod Smith, when he was at Indiana, had been evaluating quarterback Javelle Allen.

Rodriguez got a tip from a fishing buddy to establish contact with receiver Clive Georges from Key West, Fla.

That all worked in the first year, but the plan moving forward is to further establish recruiting relationships in the traditional areas in which Arizona recruits — California, Texas and in-state. As for that last part, the Cats need to do a better job in-state than the previous staff.

Bottom line: Coaches don’t want to pursue a three-star kid from the East if they can get a three-star kid from Southern California.

“If we have great ties, we’re going to follow up on it,” Rodriguez said. “But we don’t want to chase ghosts across three time zones on a ‘maybe’ or an ‘if.’”

It’s not unlike basketball coach Sean Miller’s first recruiting class at Arizona.

That, too, leaned on previous relationships — Kevin Parrom had been headed to Xavier, and the staff had previous connections with Kyryl Natyazhko and MoMo Jones. All along, Miller said his recruiting would become more West Coast-based, and it has — with spectacular results — as he and his staff built new relationships.

The same kind of thing will happen with football. Rodriguez said he wants to recruit to areas that have a “direct flight” to Tucson.

“Can we recruit nationally at the University of Arizona? Rodriguez said.

“I would like to think so. But are we at the point where we can beat some of the guys who traditionally recruit nationally? Probably not. Not right at this point. We won’t have this many players from this many states, this many time zones, in the future.

“Maybe three, four years in the future we can do that,” he added. “We can just say, ‘Hey, we’re the University of Arizona,’ and they’ll say, ‘OK, when can I visit?’”

Arizona — 6
California — 6
Florida — 3
Pennsylvania — 3
Texas — 3
Hawaii — 1
Louisiana — 1
Ohio — 1
Oklahoma — 1

RELATED: Arizona’s recruiting class: Position by position

Arizona’s 2012 recruiting class

Name Pos. Ht. Wt. School 247Sports Rivals Scout
Jamar Allah DB 6-1 190 North Canyon HS (Phoenix) 2 stars 2 2
Javelle Allen QB 6-2 204 Prosper (Texas) HS 2 stars 3 3
Jarrell Bennett WR 5-10 160 Edna Karr (New Orleans) 3 stars 3 2
Beau Boyster OT 6-4 275 St. John Bosco HS (Bellflower, Calif.) 3 stars 3 3
Cayman Bundage OL 6-2 285 Douglass HS (Oklahoma City) 3 stars 3 3
Keoni Bush-Loo TE 6-4 240 Kamehama School (Honolulu) 2 stars 2 3
Wayne Capers ATH 6-1 205 Chartiers Valley HS (Bridgeville, Pa.) 3 stars 3 3
Dakota Conwell LB 6-2 205 Upper Saint Clair HS (Pittsburgh) 3 stars 3 4
Dylan Cozens DE 6-5 245 Chaparral HS (Scottsdale) 3 stars 3 3
C.J. Dozier* LB 6-2 210 Chaparral HS (Temecula, Calif.) 3 stars 3 3
Clive Georges WR 6-1 160 Key West (Fla.) HS 2 stars 3 3
Trey Griffey WR 6-2 190 Dr. Phillips HS (Orlando, Fla.) 3 stars 3 2
T.D. Gross OL 6-6 255 Santana HS (Santee, Calif.) 2 stars 2 3
Bryan Harper ATH 6-0 180 Colony HS (Ontario, Calif.) 3 stars 3 3
Zach Hemmila OL 6-3 275 Chandler HS 4 stars 4 3
Cody Ippolito LB 6-0 210 Chaparral HS (Scottsdale) 2 stars 2 2
Kyle Kelley DE 6-3 230 Woodbridge HS (Irvine, Calif.) 3 stars 4 3
Josh Kern QB 6-5 190 Clark HS (San Antonio) 3 stars 3 2
Anthony Lopez RB 5-10 185 Mesquite HS (Gilbert) 2 stars 3 3
Dwight Melvin DE 6-1 265 Betty H. Fairfax HS (Laveen) 3 stars 3 2
William Parks DB 6-0 175 Germantown Friends School (Philadelphia) 3 stars 3 2
Yamen Sanders S 6-4 190 Culver City (Calif.) HS 2 stars 2 3
Leo Thomas DB 6-3 180 Sam Houston HS (San Antonio) 3 stars 3 3
Bryan Wagner* LB 6-2 235 University of Akron NA NA NA
J.T. Washington RB 5-7 165 Satellite Beach (Fla.) HS 2 stars 2 3


Search site | Terms of service