When Jalen Tabor, the 15th ranked recruit in the country, signed with the Arizona Wildcats on January 2nd, Arizona faithful already had a feeling that the New Year would be promising in Tucson. Only one week later, Tabor decided to part ways with the Wildcats and head to Gainesville to play for Will Muschamp’s Florida Gators. As soon as the news spread in the early hours of January 9th that Tabor would not be a Wildcat, Arizona fans were livid. Although they have a right to be upset, it’s important to not lose sight of the brilliant things that are coming this fall. The incoming class is a special one.
Head coach, Rich Rodriguez and his staff have already signed five ESPN 300 recruits, four more than last year’s freshman class. Leading the way is Marquis Ware (ATH), one of the highest-rated recruits Arizona has signed in the past few years. Ware (6-2, 210lbs), picked the Cats over power-house schools such as Florida State, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Stanford, and Texas A&M. Ware’s high school teammate at Salesian in Los Angeles, Jamardre Cobb, will also be playing for Arizona in the fall. Cobb is a powerful outside linebacker standing at 6-0, 220 lbs and like Ware, will be expected to make an immediate impact this fall. Cobb also picked Arizona over big programs such as Florida State, Ohio State, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Miami. Both Ware and Cobb decided to stay on the West Coast and play ball for a program that’s on the rise. The Wildcats also signed two other California recruits. La Jolla Country Day (San Diego) offensive tackle, Jordan Poland picked U of A over Boise State, USC, and UCLA. Nick Wilson (RB), a Fresno product, chose Arizona over Boise State, Arkansas, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, among others.
Perhaps one of the biggest recruits that the Wildcats picked up this year was in their own backyard. Cam Denson (ATH), Salpointe Catholic’s star playmaker, decided to stay local after turning down offers from Oklahoma, Notre Dame, and UCLA. The 6-1, 175 pound speedster helped Salpointe win its first state championship and will bring his huge playmaking ability to Arizona. Denson’s high school teammate, Kaelin Deboskie also decided to stay local after turning down a big offer from coach Mike Gundy and Oklahoma State. Although Deboskie is not an ESPN 300 recruit, he is dangerous, quick, and not afraid to make game-changing plays.
So say what you want, but this year’s freshman class is spectacular. Arizona fans cannot not let one small loss like Tabor wipe away everything else that Rodriguez and his staff have accomplished. The future can only get brighter in Tucson. A new football facility, a winning program for the past two years, two straight bowl wins, and a well-reputable coach will continue to lure big-name recruits to the desert.