The Arizona Wildcats, at 8 p.m. before Signing Day, had a recruiting class that was sitting right on the edge of the Top 25.
Scout.com placed UA at No. 22. Rivals.com had the Cats at No. 29.
OK, so, 247Sports wasn’t nearly as impressed, ranking Arizona at No. 45.
The final team rankings, for what they’re worth, won’t be set until after Signing Day, when all the top recruits have picked a hat from a table and put their signature on a letter of intent.
What do the ratings mean?
You can come up with thousands of examples of can’t-miss prospects who did, and no-good recruits who became great. Recent examples at Arizona: Wide receiver Juron Criner and cornerback Trevin Wade each received merely a two-star rating (out of five) by one major recruiting service. They each played in the NFL last season as rookies.
Even when you look at just the five-star recruits, about half of them will be busts, either because of injury, or transfer, or academics, or lack of growth. But would have rather have a class with multiple five-star recruits rather than one with a handful of two-star recruits?
It’s a matter of probability, and I strongly suggest reading this piece from CBSSports.com, which breaks down how each All-American in the past five years was rated in high school.
Bottom line: If a couple of the recruiting services rank the Cats around the Top 25, that should give coach Rich Rodriguez and his staff ample raw material to work with for the next four or five years.
Let’s take a look at the class, which included 27 players as of Tuesday night but was still in flux …
The headliner: QB Anu Solomon
Solomon is, according to Rivals.com, Arizona’s highest-rated recruit — No. 99 nationally. More than the high ranking is the position. Solomon arrives at a time when the future of Arizona’s quarterback spot is unsettled, and the coaching staff identified him early in the recruiting process as a top priority.
Solomon passed for more than 10,000 yards and won four state titles at Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas. He has the experience and, it is said, the maturity to compete for the job right away. SI.com ranked Solomon as the quarterback recruit most likely to make a big impact in 2013.
Nothing is more exciting on Signing Day than a potential quarterback of the future.
Most important recruit: Jesse Scroggins
OK, having said all that about Solomon, Arizona brought in former USC quarterback Jesse Scroggins at the semester break for a reason — to win the job. He spent last season in junior college, and he hasn’t played much in the past three years, but his age and his big arm give him the edge over a true freshman such as Solomon.
Scroggins will join the fray this spring, competing against senior B.J. Denker (last season’s backup), Louisiana Tech sophomore transfer Nick Isham and redshirt freshmen Javelle Allen and Josh Kern.
Scroggins has the biggest upside. If this is a recruiting hit, the outlook for 2013 brightens considerably.
Signing Day mysteries
Can the Wildcats hold on to a pair of recruits from Georgia Military College?
Linebacker Brandon Golson and running back Mario Alford started looking around when their lead recruiter at Arizona — safeties coach Tony Gibson — left to go to West Virginia. Each player took an official visit to West Virginia last month, and there was no definite word as of Tuesday night regarding where they would sign.
UA apparently is saving room for defensive back David Price from Long Beach Poly. He is scheduled to take an official visit to Arizona this weekend.
Stoops and his coaching staff had strong recruiting ties to the state of Texas, a fertile area that the Cats historically have liked to reach into.
Not this year, though.
Assuming no late additions, this will be the first Arizona class since 1994 that didn’t include any Texans.
Go to San Diego
Rodriguez and his staff, which arrived after the 2011 season without established recruiting ties to Cal, ramped up their efforts this season, especially in the San Diego area.
Cornerback Derek Babiash from Poway (Calif.) High and running back Pierre Cormier from San Diego Madison High are two of the best recruits in this class. Cormier’s teammate, Lee Walker, is a two-way standout who will get a shot at receiver. Jacob Alsadek, from Torrey Pines High in San Diego, is a big offensive tackle (6-7, 332) who has shown plenty of agility in summer camps. Cornerback Devin Holiday from San Marcos, Calif., is a three-star recruit across the board.
|Mario Alford||ATH||5-10||180||Georgia Military||Milledgeville, GA||4||3||3|
|Calvin Allen||DE||6-5||225||La Cueva HS||Albuquerque, N.M.||3||3||3|
|Jacob Alsadek||OT||6-7||332||Torrey Pines HS||San Diego, Calif.||3||3||3|
|Derek Babiash||CB||6-1||165||Poway HS||Poway, Calif.||4||3||4|
|Jack Banda||DE||6-4||225||Grayson HS||Loganville, Ga.||2||3||2|
|Luca Bruno||DL||6-4||280||Oak Park HS||Oak Park, Calif.||3||3||3|
|Pierre Cormier||RB||5-10||180||Madison HS||San Diego, Calif.||4||3||4|
|Ryan Dunn||LB||6-3||210||San Ramon Valley HS||Danville, Calif.||3||3||3|
|Paul Elvira||WR||5-11||175||Marcos De Niza HS||Tempe||2||2||2|
|Brandon Golson||LB||6-3||230||Georgia Military||Milledgeville, Ga.||3||3||3|
|Samajie Grant||WR||5-10||170||Colony HS||Ontario, Calif.||3||3||3|
|Zachary Green||RB||5-10||210||St. Bonaventure HS||Ventura, Calif.||3||3||3|
|Steven Gurrola||C||6-2||280||Glendale CC||Glendale||2||3||3|
|Devin Holiday||DB||5-10||170||Mission Hills HS||San Marcos, Calif.||3||3||3|
|Prince Holloway||CB||5-9||160||Hutchinson CC||Hutchinson, Kan.||3||3||3|
|T.J. Johnson||ATH||5-7||165||Island Coast HS||Cape Coral, Fla.||3||3||3|
|Mauriece Lee||RB||5-8||185||Marcos De Niza HS||Tempe||3||3||3|
|David Maka||DT||6-5||350||Tustin HS||Tustin, Calif.||2||3||3|
|DeAndre Miller||LB||6-3||215||Buckeye HS||Buckeye||3||3||3|
|R.J. Morgan||DB||6-2||210||Crater Academy||Central Point, Ore.||2||2||2|
|Nate Phillips||WR||5-9||165||Basha HS||Chandler||3||2||2|
|Jesse Scroggins*||QB||6-1||200||El Camino JC||Torrance, Calif.||3||NR||3|
|Anu Solomon||QB||6-0||195||Bishop Gorman HS||Las Vegas||3||4||4|
|Logan Stott*||OG||6-3||300||Pine View HS||Saint George, Utah||3||4||3|
|Derrick Turituri||LB||6-2||225||Crater Academy||Central Point, Ore.||3||2||3|
|Lee Walker||WR||6-0||175||Madison HS||San Diego, Calif.||3||3||2|
|Philip Wright||LB||6-1||225||Cardinal Newman HS||Santa Rosa, Calif.||2||2||2|