RichRod comes through in second recruiting class
By JOHN MARSHALL
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) Rich Rodriguez did the best he could with his first recruiting class at Arizona, scrambling to find players while honoring the commitments of previous coach Mike Stoops.
Rodriguez did all right by most accounts, nabbing some decent players while building the Wildcats' depth.
Given a full year to recruit players - his kind of players - Rodriguez came through with a solid second recruiting class that should add to the Wildcats' speed, size and depth.
Led by dual-threat quarterback Anu Solomon of Las Vegas, Arizona's 24-man class was rated No. 27 nationally by Scout.com and 36th by Rivals.com.
"It's night and day; year one you're just scrambling," Rodriguez said Wednesday after announcing his 2013 recruiting class. "This year we had a longer time to evaluate and really feel our needs. I think this is a good recruiting class and it will continue to get better."
It helped that Rodriguez has something concrete to show recruits.
A year ago, he was new, as were his system and assistant coaches, and the renovations to Arizona Stadium were still in the initial stages. Rodriguez also had to bank on promise, not results, trying to convince recruits that he was the man to turn around a program that had been mired in mediocrity.
In just one season, Rodriguez was able to lay a firm foundation for the future, leading the Wildcats to an eight-win season, including a wild victory in the New Mexico Bowl, with an exciting and entertaining style of football.
The success on the field and the tangible progress in upgrading the on-campus facilities - a $72 million facelift is expected to be done this summer - gives recruits something to see, not imagine.
"We've been selling a vision so far: this is what the facility's going to be like, this is what we think we're going to do on the field," Rodriguez said. "Now we can sell a little more results-oriented. We had solid results on the field - I think they can see some progress there - and starting in the summer, instead of showing pictures of the facilities, we'll be able to take them through it."
Rodriguez's second class is filled with speedy players who should fit into his up-tempo style and add some much-needed size to the roster. It features 12 players on offense, 10 on defense and two players classified as athletes.
Three are quarterbacks - Solomon, Jesse Scroggins of Lakewood, Calif., and Khari McGee of Fresno, Calif. - which is no surprise for a coach who says he can never have enough quarterbacks.
Solomon has a chance to be the best of the bunch, maybe one of the best quarterbacks in the Class of 2013
A four-star recruit by Rivals.com and Scout.com, Solomon led Bishop Gorman High School to four straight state titles while going 56-4 as a starter. The 6-foot-1, 205-pounder threw for over 2,800 yards and 35 touchdowns as a senior and has the type of skills that should be a good fit for Rodriguez's read-option offense.
"He can throw, he runs well, he's a tough competitor and he's a winner, played in a great high school program," Rodriguez said. "I'm really excited about Anu. He's got the skill set that we look for in a quarterback. More than anything, he's a competitor, a tough guy and a winner and should have a great future here."
So will the Wildcats if Rodriguez keeps recruiting like this.
Updated February 6, 2013