When Daxx Garman stepped up in mid-February to become the first recruit in the University of Arizona’s 2011 football recruiting class, Mike Stoops knew he had the beginning of something good in his future.
And now the Wildcats’ head football coach is filling out the rest of his backfield for the years ahead.
The Wildcats just announced that Jared Baker, a running back from Loyola High School in Los Angeles, has verbally committed to play in Tucson after he wraps up his senior year.
That gives Stoops what might be best described as a pair of book-end backs, since he recently got a commitment from Ka’Deem Carey, another running back, this time a local kid from Canyon del Oro HS in Tucson.
The two are practically mirror images. Both could use a little more size at 5’9″ and 185 lbs., but they make up for a lack of physical presence with speed and agility.
Baker is a three-star recruit and listed by Rivals.com as the 45th-best in the country at his position. He took over last season for Loyola’s injured starting rusher, Anthony Barr, and rushed for 1,453 yards and 10 touchdowns. On a game-by-game basis, the junior averaged 145 yards a game and almost seven yards a carry.
Carey, the state’s top high school running back, had even better numbers, rushing for 2,738 yards and averaging 12 yards a carry.
Both runners will bring an excitement to the Cats’ offense, using a combination of quickness and power to get quickly to the hole, and just as quickly through it.
But Garman also needed someone to throw to, and the Cats filled that need with Dan Buckner, a transfer from the University of Texas. The 6’4″, 215 lb. receiver will sit out next year, but will be ready when the Class of 2011 takes the field.
In addition to Garman, Carey, and Baker, the 2011 Class includes a couple of linebackers in Hank Hobson from Bakersfield, Calif., and Jabral Johnson from Lawton, OK. Jacob Arzouman from Salpointe Catholic in Tucson will vie for a spot on the offensive line, and the defense will be getting a defensive end in Joseph Carter from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., and a defensive back in Kerry Swarn from Dallas, TX.
And to just add a little additional interest to that 2011 team, it is still possible that Stoops could corral one of the biggest quarterback catches moving into his senior year in high school. And a local boy to boot.
Brett Hundley at Chandler HS has Arizona on his short list and still has not made up his mind. The 6’3″, 215 lb. quarterback is a legitimate dual threat, passing for more than 1,500 yards and rushing for 1,200 more as a junior.
Hundley continues to get offers on a regular basis, the latest from the University of Michigan and University of Oregon. He’s got a pile of about 19 offers now, six of which are from Pac-10 schools.
But the Wildcats, he says, are still on his radar.
Hey, it doesn’t hurt to dream.