Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez has his biggest junior college haul since arriving at UA, signing six transfers to letters-of-intent Wednesday.
Rodriguez, in his first two recruiting classes, signed only four junior college transfers — starting quarterback B.J. Denker, quarterback Jesse Scroggins, starting center Steven Gurrola and backup defensive back Tellas Jones.
“We still don’t have the competition at all spots that you need,” Rodriguez said this week, “but this recruiting class will help in that regard.”
The Wildcats did lose Jamie Byrd from Iowa Western Community College. Byrd, the No. 2 junior college safety according to 247Sports, committed to Arizona in early August but signed Wednesday with his hometown school — South Florida.
These half-dozen signees will enroll at Arizona in January and vie for playing time during spring practice (Rodriguez will be available to talk about them Friday):
– DL Jerod Cody (6-2, 280) is from Glendale Community College, the same school that produced Gurrola, who has started every game this season. Cody sat out this season because of a meniscus tear, according to Scout.com’s Jason Jewell (also a Glendale assistant coach). Cody will have three years of eligibility remaining.
– CB Patrick Glover (6-2, 212) has nice size for a cornerback, where the Wildcats are losing senior Shaquille Richardson. He’s a three-star Rivals.com recruit who made 42 tackles and had three interceptions in nine games for the Fighting Artichokes. He graduated from Mesa Mountain View High.
– OL Kaige Lawrence (6-4, 280) attended Silverado High School in Victorville, Calif., before redshirting at Chadron State in 2011. He spent the past two seasons at Chaffey College in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. Lawrence, who committed to UA in early June, is rated the No. 6 junior college offensive guard by 247Sports. If UA adds another JC offensive lineman on Signing Day in February, it could be David Hedelin from City College of San Francisco.
– QB Jerrard Randall (6-1, 190) was an intriguing recent addition to the spring quarterback competition. Randall, who originally committed to Oregon out of high school, spent two seasons at LSU, never playing, before transferring to Northeast Mississippi Community College for the 2013 season. He was a four-star recruit out of high school. He has a lot of speed and athleticism, but his accuracy needs to improve after completing 65 of 152 passes for 861 yards, with seven touchdowns and 10 interceptions this season.
– LB Antonio Smothers (6-2, 237) adds size and experience to a linebacker corps that loses Marquis Flowers and Jake Fischer. We’ll see exactly which linebacker spot he fills, but he should add play-making ability from the outside, potentially even as a third-down defensive end. He made 18 tackles for loss, including seven sacks, for a 10-1 Scottsdale Community College team this season. Smothers is rated as the No. 3 JC outside linebacker by 247Sports.
– DT Jeff Worthy (6-3, 290) might be the most important player in this recruiting class because of his potential to fill the middle of Arizona’s three-man defensive line after the departure of senior Tevin Hood. Worthy spent two seasons at Boise State but never played there, redshirting and then suspended for the 2012 season. Worthy, a former four-star recruit out of Whittier (Calif.) Christian High School, made 11.5 tackles for loss, including 4.5 sacks, in eight games at Santa Ana this season.