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:
|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|