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Four-star JC linebacker picks Arizona over Miami, Kansas State

Rich Rodriguez

Rich Rodriguez keeps hearing good recruiting news. Photo by Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona Wildcats coach Rich Rodriguez continues to be on a recruiting roll, receiving a commitment from Antonio Smothers, one of the top junior college linebackers in the country.

Smothers, from Scottsdale Community College, is rated a four-star recruit by Rivals.com and is ranked No. 2 among JC linebackers by 247Sports.

Smothers announced Thursday he picked the Wildcats over Miami and Kansas State.

“(The coaches) said they can see me playing any or all of the three linebacker positions,” Smothers told WildcatSportsReport.com, one of our website partners.

“I’m versatile and can play all three spots. We talked about even lining up as a defensive end on third and long and different options. My strengths are tackling and being able to cover receivers down field. The Pac-12 has some great offenses and you have to be able to defend the pass.”

Smothers is the 20th recruit in Arizona’s 2014 class, the fourth from junior college and the second from Scottsdale CC. The other is cornerback Patrick Glover.

You can watch Smothers’ highlights from last season at hudl.com.

Smothers (6-2, 230) is originally from Chicago, although he played at West Side High School in Gary, Ind. He didn’t have a qualifying test score out of high school, eventually redshirting a year at Arizona Western in Yuma.

He made 53 tackles, including 8.5 for loss, in eight games for Scottsdale last season. He said he plans to enroll at Arizona after the fall semester, allowing him to get up to speed during spring ball.

Smothers is Arizona’s eighth commitment in the past week, including Texas transfer quarterback Connor Brewer. Seven of those commitments have come since the weekend, when the Wildcats hosted a red-carpet recruiting event to celebrate the opening of the Lowell-Stevens Football Facility.

Smothers told WildcatSportsReport.com, however, that the coaches — more than the facilities — influenced his decision. Specifically, tight ends coach Charlie Ragle, the former head coach at Scottsdale Chaparral High School, has been a highly effective recruiter.

“Coach Ragle deserves a big shout out,” Smothers said. “He really made me feel wanted. He didn’t treat me like another recruit to stockpile talent. He told me exactly why I would fit in with their plans.”

Arizona figures to have to replace two starting linebackers in 2014 — Jake Fischer and Marquis Flowers.

Here is a look at Arizona’s recruiting class, with “star” rankings from the three major recruiting services:

Player Pos. Ht. Wt. School 247 Rivals Scout
Devon Brewer S 6-0 175 Central East, Fresno, Calif. 2 3 3
Rodney Carr DB 6-0 185 Salesian High, Los Angeles 4 3 3
Darrell Cloy TE 6-3 220 La Habra (Calif.) High 3 3 3
Jerod Cody DE 6-3 265 Glendale (Ariz.) Community College 3 NR 2
Brandon Dawkins QB 6-3 205 Oaks Christian, Thousand Oaks, Calif. 3 3 3
Cameron Denson WR 6-1 170 Salpointe Catholic, Tucson 4 4 4
Tony Ellison WR 5-11 170 Granite Bay (Calif.) High 3 2 2
Patrick Glover CB 6-1 181 Scottsdale C.C. NR NR 2
Jonathan Haden RB 5-8 189 Friendship Collegiate Academy, Washington D.C. 3 3 3
Naijiel Hale CB 5-11 170 St. John Bosco High, Bellflower, Calif. 4 3 4
J.R. Hunt S 6-3 190 Chandler High 3 3 3
Kaige Lawrence OL 6-4 290 Chaffey C.C., Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. 3 3 2
Kwesi Mashack CB 5-10 190 Murrieta High, Vista, Calif. 3 NR 3
Jordan Morgan WR 6-2 200 Southridge High, Beaverton, Ore. 3 2 3
Josh Pollack P/K 5-11 165 Highland Park (Ill.) High NR 2 3
Antonio Smothers LB 6-2 230 Scottsdale C.C. 3 4 3
Jace Whittaker DB 5-9 150 Oceanside (Calif.) High 2 3 2
Sharif Williams DT 6-2 300 Central East, Fresno, Calif. 3 NR 3
Nick Wilson RB 6-0 191 Central East, Fresno, Calif. 4 4 4
Trevor Wood TE 6-5 235 Chaparral High, Scottsdale 3 3 3
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