In the heart of Tucson, AZ there was much reason for celebration this year. The Wildcats had a good season, ending 8-5 (7-5 regular season and 5-4 conference play), beginning with a lop-sided 70-0 beating of Idaho and a 41-16 win against Toledo. This was also the first season in nearly a decade that the University of Arizona even went to a bowl game. They defeated Brigham Young University 31-21 in the Las Vegas Bowl. The Wildcats went on to finish the season fifth in the Pac 10 conference.
Over the last couple of years University of Arizona Head Coach Mike Stoops has been fired up during the recruiting season. Two years ago Stoops accused Oregon of stealing his recruits at the last minute, and last year he was reported as saying state rival Arizona State was a “Junior College” among other things after losing three recruits to the Sun Devils. Despite having a recruiting class that ranked seventh in the Pac-10 and around 50th nationally, the Arizona Coach was not taking any shots at anyone. Stoops joking said, “I have not attacked anybody and I’m not getting attacked. I am not as defensive as I have been in the past. I guess winning cures all ills, even with me.” The first winning season in ten years and the fact that Stoops was also given a three year contract extension probably helped to calm him during the arduous recruiting process.
The newly level headed Stoops admits he didn’t get everyone he wanted, but with the season opener against Central Michigan coming up in six months, he has plenty of time to mold his new talent. The highlight of the recruiting season for the University of Arizona was Parade All-American Safety Adam Hall. They also got two spread option tailback specialists in Daniel Jenkins and Kylan Butler. With Arizona school-record quarterback Willie Tuitama graduating, the Wildcats have a four man battle to fill his shoes. Pac-10 receiving record holder Mike Thomas’ absence has also been filled with the signing of Junior College transfer Travis Cobb from Blinn College and DeWayne Peace of South Grand Prairie, Texas.
The top recruits for the Wildcats show promise that Arizona will continue to grow. Adam Hall will play safety, but in high school Hall was very versatile and played receiver, running back, safety and returned kicks in his senior year on his way to scoring 38 touchdowns. Tailback Daniel Jenkins of Moreno Valley, Ca is a 5-foot-9, 187-pound running back who has shown he can rush for 1,000 yards in a season, but more important for the Wildcat offense, he has shown that he can catch out of the backfield, with 212 yards and three touchdowns against St. John Bosco this season. However, Arizona is still young at Tailback and he may have to be red shirted this year. Trevor Erno from Lakewood, Ca is a bruising linebacker that had 128 tackles and 5.5 sacks this season. Erno had committed last year but that didn’t stop UCLA and California coaches from going to his school to try to recruit him. The Wildcats should be able to make another bowl game this season.
Writer and editor, Freddie Brister, is a former high school football coach of 25 years. His love of the game of football is reflected in his words and memories of growing up in the South and playing football in the back yard with his brother, cousins and neighborhood friends. His biggest thrill is watching former high school players he has coached play at the college level. His favorite pastime is watching college football on tv and attending the games in person every chance he gets. Freddie Brister is a huge fan of college football. Check out his Arizona Wildcats merchandise at http://www.sportsfantreasures.com/ncaa-arizona-wildcats.htm or his Florida Gators Merchandise at http://www.isnare.com/?aid=314822&ma=members&ca=Sports
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