Big July moves UA football up recruiting class rankings

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                </div>  One of the most important parts of multi-tasking as a college football head coach is being able to focus on the current season, while also keeping one eye on […]<!-- AddThis Sharing Buttons below -->
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One of the most important parts of multi-tasking as a college football head coach is being able to focus on the current season, while also keeping one eye on the road ahead.

A coach’s longevity with any program depends on his ability to recruit.  And success with future recruiting classes depends entirely on what you’re accomplishing in the here-and-now… kind of a chicken-and-the-egg scenario.

For University of Arizona head football coach Rich Rodriguez, a disappointing end to the 2014 season was cause for concern because it could have become a speed bump that would slow the recruiting efforts of his coaching staff.

The Wildcats enjoyed their best season statistically since Rodriguez arrived in November of 2011.  After back-to-back seasons that finished 8-5, last season brought a Pac-12 South title and a 10-4 overall record.

But the Cats were crushed by Oregon in the final game of the regular season, losing to the No. 3 Ducks in a 51-13 embarrassment, and then narrowly escaped a similar fate against Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl.  They were rocked early by the Broncos, falling behind by 21 points in the first quarter, but were able to make a game of it before it was all over.

Arizona lost that game, 38-30, to close the year with consecutive losses and tarnish what could have been a blockbuster season – and a great recruiting tool.

For awhile, it looked like those losses might also have put a damper on recruiting efforts as things remained pretty quiet in the Old Pueblo until summer arrived.  But last month changed all that.

July offered a flurry of recruiting activity, resulting in a bunch of commitments.  The Cats pulled in nine new additions to the Class of 2016, thanks in large part to a big push at the July 18 “OKG (Our Kinda Guy) Day” on campus when they secured a handful of players – and perhaps their biggest catch of the recruiting class so far, Josh Allen.

Allen is a 6’4″, 260-pound defensive end from Long Beach City College, a California JUCO.  He is ranked by one service as the tenth-best player in the 2016 class, and the No. 2 strong-side defensive end, and is expected to be an impact player that will get a starting role early.

A four-star prospect is a good get for any program, and Arizona needs more of them to try to push its recruiting classes higher in the national rankings.  Rodriguez has pulled in fewer than a dozen during his four years at Arizona and has not been able to nail down a five-star – but did come close when he got a commitment from Jalen Tabor, the No. 4 corner in the nation and No. 14 overall in the Class of 2014.  But Tabor de-committed and went instead to play for the Florida Gators.

The current class was ranked at No. 43 by 247Sports, but the surge in July moved the 2016 class up to No. 33, just a couple of rungs below the 2014 class that was the highest in Rodriguez’s reign at No. 30.

Now, one of the other demanding parts of the coaching job kicks in… keeping the big fish on the line until signing day arrives.

(Photo: Arizona Athletics)