NCF On The Trail: Arizona Wildcats

Top 2015 juco classes 

December, 3, 2014
Dec 3
National signing day is quickly approaching, but first up is the mid-year junior college signing period. The opportunity for junior college prospects to sign with FBS schools starts Dec. 17, and many prospects have already made commitments. With the release of the ESPN Junior College 50, let’s take a look at five programs (in alphabetical order) having success in the junior college ranks.

Weekend recruiting wrap: Pac-12 

December, 2, 2014
Dec 2
Rivalry weekend in the Pac-12 meant big official visit weekends for a number of conference teams, while two junior college prospects announced their commitments to Pac-12 programs on Sunday night. The Pac-12 will also witness more than a few assistant coaching changes this offseason -- no different than any other year, or any other conference -- and those moves could bring with them some significant movement among committed and uncommitted recruits.

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Best of the visits: Pac-12

November, 30, 2014
Nov 30
From USC’s bounce-back win over Notre Dame, to a Territorial Cup victory, to a big visitor list on the Palouse, recruits were in attendance at the Pac-12’s rivalry games this past weekend and shared their experiences through social media.

Trojans' time to shine

After suffering a significant defeat at the Rose Bowl last weekend, as UCLA took control of Los Angeles in front of dozens of local recruits, USC needed a big performance against Notre Dame on Saturday. Five out-of-state official visitors were in attendance, along with a number of local unofficial visitors from the 2015 and 2016 classes.

Defensive tackle Tim Settle, the nation’s No. 17 prospect, made his way across the country and provided his view of the Staples Center from his hotel in downtown Los Angeles.
The Trojans also received official visits from No. 171 prospect Donte Jackson and No. 94 prospect Osa Masina, who arrived in Los Angeles along with his family. There was a strong Utah presence at the game, as ESPN 300 athlete Porter Gustin was scheduled to be in attendance on an unofficial visit, and 2016 wide receiver Simi Fehoko -- who already holds offers from Clemson and Utah and could wind up as one of the state's most highly recruited prospects next year -- tweeted that he was in attendance as well. Of course, it wouldn't be a USC game without ESPN 300 quarterback, and USC commit, Ricky Town on hand. Town was joined by fellow ESPN 300 prospect and Trojans commitment Chuma Edoga, along with 2016 ESPN 300 prospects Frank Martin II and Javon McKinley in this photo. Martin II and McKinley will be interesting prospects to keep an eye on for next season, as both put together tremendous junior seasons and have been reeling in offers. Martin already holds offers from Arkansas, LSU, Miami and Syracuse, nationally, along with several Pac-12 offers. McKinley is part of a terrific 2016 class of receivers in California, and holds offers from Arizona State, Cal, UCLA and Washington State. While an offer from USC might not finish the recruiting process for either, it could prove to be big down the line.

The Trojans also hosted ESPN 300 wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown on an unofficial visit. St. Brown is looking hard at Notre Dame and Utah, as well as USC. Cats get Territorial

Arizona will begin to put together more significant official visit weekends after the season, but the Wildcats had several unofficial visitors on hand for their biggest game of the season -- a rivalry game that clinched a spot in the conference championship game.

Offensive tackle Keenan Walker, the No. 48 prospect in the country and an Arizona commitment, was at the game and took a moment to send a simple message to the in-state rival.

Ducks win the war

Oregon walked away with a win in the Civil War, but Oregon State hopes it did enough during the weekend to sway several important official visitors. In addition to committed quarterback James Pensyl, the Beavers hosted four-star running back Paul Lucas, three-star defensive tackle Benning Potoae and three-star wide receiver Lavan Alston on official visits. All four, along with several other visitors are featured in this tweet from Pensyl. Cougars with another big visit weekend

Washington State's season hasn't gone exactly the way the Cougars envisioned at the beginning of the year, but that hasn't stopped them from bringing in some big name official visitors during the season.

This past weekend, the Cougars had another ESPN 300 prospect on campus, as defensive tackle Adam McLean, a former Penn State commitment and the nation's No. 90 overall prospect, took his official visit.

Weekend recruiting wrap: Pac-12 

November, 25, 2014
Nov 25
While there were a number of important visitors at every Pac-12 game this past weekend, the Rose Bowl took center stage as UCLA hosted a number of official and unofficial visitors in what was the hottest ticket of the year for Southern California recruits. UCLA kicked off its strong weekend with a commitment from an ESPN 300 prospect, while Oregon hosted a junior college standout committed to another Pac-12 program. This upcoming weekend presents an opportunity for recruiting statements to be made in rivalry games.

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Best of the visits: Pac-12

November, 16, 2014
Nov 16
It was a very light week in the Pac-12, both on the schedule and the visitor lists. But as usual, the three Saturday games in the conference delivered in a big way, with a game-winning field goal, a defensive show that needed overtime and an upset of the No. 6 team in the country. While there weren't any reported official visitors in the conference, a number of unofficial visitors caught the action and shared it via social media.

Stanford's struggles

Stanford's offense continued to struggle this year, as the Cardinal dropped their final home game of the season, in an overtime battle against Utah. Part of the reason for that has been the lack of a dominant ground game -- something the Cardinal are looking to rectify in this recruiting class by loading up at the running back position. In town this weekend on an unofficial visit was ESPN 300 tailback Bryce Love, who has taken official visits to Tennessee and Virginia Tech this season, but has long been a Stanford target.

Stanford also received an unofficial visit from 2016 ESPN 300 wide receiver Brandon Burton, who already holds offers from programs such as Florida, Florida State, Stanford, UCLA and USC.

Oregon State's thriller

Junior quarterback Kevin Davidson has been on several Pac-12 trips this season, visiting Colorado and Washington previously. He picked a good time to take his visit to Oregon State, as he was able to witness the Beavers' thrilling victory against Arizona State.

Also in attendance was 2016 offensive guard Conner Crist, who holds interest from a number of Pac-12 programs.

Arizona stays alive

With a game-winning field goal against Washington, Arizona kept its season going on the right track. Though the Wildcats didn't host any official visitors, there were several recruits on hand for that game. Athlete Brion Anduze, who made the trip down from Washington, likely riled up a few of his friends that are Husky fans with his tweet early last week.

Of course, he also didn't have any problems reminding them of whose side he was on during the game.

Pac-12's top recruiting visits 

November, 14, 2014
Nov 14
With only three Pac-12 games on Saturday, this could be the lightest visitor weekend between now and signing day. In fact, it could be a weekend without a single official visitor hitting a Pac-12 campus. But that doesn’t mean Pac-12 fans won’t have anything to keep an eye on this weekend. A number of conference targets are headed out on trips and we take a look at a few names to watch.

[+] EnlargeJohn Houston Jr.
Tom Hauck for Student SportsJohn Houston Jr., who visits Miami this weekend, has already visited Oregon and heads to USC for a visit soon.
LB John Houston and DT Rasheem Green -- The ESPN 300 teammates are taking official visit to Miami this weekend, which might be the only program capable of luring either standout defender away from the Pac-12. Both visited Oregon earlier in this season and Houston will take his official visit to Arizona State next weekend. Green remains a high priority for Stanford, UCLA and USC as well, and said he will use official visits to both Los Angeles programs. Houston said UCLA hasn’t been in contact recently, but he will take an official visit to USC for its game against Notre Dame.

ATH Ykili Ross -- The nation’s No. 281 prospect will take his first official visit -- to Notre Dame -- this weekend. Ross recently unveiled his top 12 programs and the Pac-12 is heavily represented, with Arizona, Arizona State, Cal, Oregon, Oregon State, USC, Utah and Washington all making the cut. While Ross appears to be leaning toward USC, a great official visit to Notre Dame has changed things in a hurry for Southern California athletes before. Ross has also said he will take an official visit to USC after his season is over.

QB Devon Modster -- Arizona missed out on quarterbacks in the 2015 class and lost an early commitment from 2016 ESPN 300 signal-caller Shea Patterson, but the Wildcats threw their hat back in the ring by extending Modster his first offer two months ago. It’s likely only a matter of time before more schools jump into the mix, but Modster will be in Arizona this weekend, checking out both the Wildcats and Sun Devils.

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Baton Rouge (Louisiana) Central receiver Terrell Chatman committed to Miami early on, but that hasn’t stopped other schools from coming after him. His teammate, Kevin Henry, is working hard to ensure he’ll end up at Oklahoma State.

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Best of the visits: Pac-12

November, 9, 2014
Nov 9
Arizona State dominated the Pac-12 visitor list this weekend, as the Sun Devils hosted four ESPN 300 prospects on official visits and received unofficial visits from at least three 2016 ESPN 300 prospects. Elsewhere, Utah hosted a significant official visitor in ESPN 300 wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown and both Arizona and Washington had several California prospects in town.

Sun Devil statement

Arizona State saw everything go right during its biggest recruiting weekend of the season. ESPN 300 prospects Christian Kirk, Brady White, Trent Irwin, Zach Robertson and Porter Gustin were all in attendance to see the Sun Devils put together a big win against Notre Dame.

White has been committed to the Sun Devils for months and is putting in some serious effort to recruit the other four ESPN 300 prospects -- all uncommitted. He has an especially close relationship with Irwin, his high school teammate and good friend.
Kirk is as much of a local celebrity as it gets with hometown recruits, as he has been the top recruiting target for Arizona State and Sun Devils fans alike since his sophomore year. His highly anticipated official visit took place this weekend, and surely Arizona State did everything it could to make an impression. Safety D.J. Morgan, wide receiver Dylan Crawford and outside linebacker Bryce Youngquist -- all 2016 ESPN 300 prospects -- made the trip to Tempe over the weekend and all were impressed by what they saw. The big win might have planted the seeds for a significant 2016 recruiting haul for the Sun Devils. Also in attendance was Arizona State offensive tackle commit Mason Walter. St. Brown visits Utah

While Utah came up short on the scoreboard against Oregon, the game atmosphere in Salt Lake City looked to be impressive as always. And that's a good thing, considering ESPN 300 wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown was on his official visit. While the trip to Utah was seen a while ago as somewhat superfluous, considering St. Brown appeared down to Notre Dame, Stanford and USC as his serious options, the Utes at this point shouldn't be considered out of this at all, as the coaches have done a great job recruiting the talented receiver. Utah also had several committed recruits on hand, including linebacker Cody Barton and 2016 athlete Kahi Neves. A Wildcat win

Arizona kept pace in the Pac-12 South with a home win over Colorado. And while Arizona State boasted the lion's share of impact visitors this weekend, the Wildcats had a few of their own.

Arizona tight end commit Jamie Nunley made the trip out from California, and apparently had a chance to spend some time with head coach Rich Rodriguez on the sideline. Huskies host two California juniors

Washington suffered a tough loss to UCLA, but was able to bring at least two 2016 California prospects up to Seattle for the game, in running back Sean McGrew and quarterback Kevin Davidson. While McGrew has Cal and UCLA out front in his recruitment, the trip to Washington shows he's still giving the Huskies a look. And though Davidson is still looking for his first offer, he's been in serious contact with Pac-12 programs such as Cal, Colorado and Washington.
Oregon is still working hard on its 2015, but that hasn't stopped the Ducks from landing quality 2016 targets like receiver Dillon Mitchell. Plus, why is Branden Bowen important to both Ohio State and Utah's 2015 class?

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About this time of year coaches scour junior college ranks for offensive line talent, and thathas helped Tyler Howell become one of hottest targets around. Plus, is Clemson in danger of losing ESPN 300 commitment Juwuan Briscoe?

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Pac-12 South recruiting roundup 

October, 16, 2014
Oct 16
At the halfway point of college football's regular season, there is still plenty to be decided both on the field and on the recruiting trail. The Pac-12 placed six programs among the top 40 recruiting classes in Wednesday's updated class rankings Insider and conference recruiting classes contain as many as 24 -- Arizona -- and as few as nine -- Stanford -- commitments. This update offers a look at where each Pac-12 South program stands with its 2015 recruiting class, including its top prospect and position of strength, as well as a look at where things are going well for each class.


Total number of commitments: 24

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Weekend recruiting wrap: Pac-12 

October, 14, 2014
Oct 14
Pac-12 home teams are 4-14 this season, but the coaches in the conference continue to find recruiting success despite being forced to pitch their programs to prospects following home defeats. This past Saturday, Pac-12 home teams went 0-3 yet came out victorious on the recruiting trail, landing commitments and making positive impressions.

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UA jersey tour: Cordell Broadus

October, 13, 2014
Oct 13
Cordell Broadus was presented with his Under Armour All America jersey on Monday afternoon, in a ceremony attended by friends and family. Of course, one attendee was just a bit easier to recognize than others, as Broadus is the son of Calvin Broadus, better known to most as Snoop Dogg.

But Broadus made it known early on in his recruiting process that if programs and coaches are merely looking to make a splash by landing the son of the legendary rapper, they shouldn't waste their time.

"They should know from the jump that if you're recruiting somebody it should be for who they are," Broadus said, adding that so far, coaches have been good about that angle. "It hasn't come up yet, but I would stay away from a college that did that. It'd feel like it's fake, and that it wasn't for me and my athletic ability."

After making the move from Diamond Bar (Calif.) High School to Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman this past offseason, the 6-foot-2, 192-pound wide receiver finds himself a significant member of a nationally-ranked program that finished its nonconference schedule with wins over powers from Arizona and Utah, as well as four wins over top California programs. All the Gaels have done in two conference games is post a combined 130-0 score line as Bishop Gorman seeks yet another state title. Broadus ranks second on the team with 22 receptions for 297 yards and five touchdowns.

While Broadus, the nation's No. 133 recruit and No. 14 wide receiver, sports an impressive offer sheet, he said his focus has been on his senior season rather than recruiting. As a result, he has yet to truly begin narrowing down his finalists and said he would like to see as many of the schools that have extended scholarships as possible.

Broadus said Arizona, Arizona State, Florida State, Notre Dame and Washington will eventually receive official visits, while he was at the Rose Bowl on an unofficial visit to UCLA this past weekend.

"I want to see if I can fit in comfortably and if they need me at the wide receiver position," Broadus said of what he'll be looking for during his visits.

Seven questions with Cordell Broadus

What players are you looking forward to competing with or against at the UA All America Game?

"A lot of my friends that I grew up with will be at the game. Iman Marshall, Josh Rosen, John Houston. Those guys."

If you could start a team with any other player in your class, who would it be?

"Iman Marshall at the cornerback position. He's such a big corner. He can contribute and shut down a whole side of the field. He has a great head on his shoulders."

What was your earliest football memory?

"My dad forcing me to play football because I didn't want to play football right away. I didn't really start liking football until seventh or eighth grade. In eighth grade I started officially working out, doing cone work and running routes. When you start working on your craft, the more time you put in, the better you get."

Which football player did you watch as a kid?

"I liked to watch Jerry Rice, Keenan Allen, Kez Bryant, Terrell Owens, A.J. Green. Guys like that."

If you could take on any pro in their sport, who would it be?

"I'd take on Alex Morgan in soccer. Just for a chance to hang out with her and get her number."

Why do you wear your number (21)?

"My mom had me at the age of 21, so I really represent that. And my dad is from 21st Street as well."

What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

"I like reading. I read a lot of books on a wide variety of topics. Also, I want to be a director and direct their favorite movie."

Best of the visits: Pac-12

October, 12, 2014
Oct 12
The Pac-12's three Saturday home games featured several significant visitors, and even though home teams went 0-3 -- hardly a surprise in the conference this season -- favorable impressions were made.

Big turnout at the Rose Bowl

It was the marquee game in the conference thus far, as Oregon met UCLA at the Rose Bowl, and the visitor list matched the hype of the game. It's always newsworthy when five-star cornerback Iman Marshall, the nation's No. 8 overall recruit, makes it out to a game, and he was in attendance Saturday.

Marshall was joined by another huge UCLA target in ESPN 300 wide receiver Cordell Broadus, who made the trip out from Las Vegas.

Like Marshall, Broadus has been fairly tight-lipped about his recruitment thus far, so for the Bruins to get him out on an unofficial visit represents a big recruiting win. It wouldn't be surprising to see Broadus make a return trip to Westwood for an official visit at some point.

UCLA hosted a few official visitors for the game, but none was more important than ESPN 300 running back Soso Jamabo, the No. 32 overall prospect. While Jamabo had to have been impressed by the Bruins rushing for 328 yards against the Ducks, there was something else that caught his eye during his visit.

Arizona wins early, loses late

Arizona might have lost its game against USC when it missed a last-second field goal, but the Wildcats won on the recruiting trail before the game even started, as they added a commitment from three-star cornerback Shun Brown.

There were also a number of Arizona verbal commitments in attendance, including ESPN 300 offensive tackle Keenan Walker.

With Brown's commitment, all three official visitors for Arizona this weekend are now Wildcat commitments. Defensive end Kendal Franklin provided Arizona fans with a number of videos of his trip that he posted via twitter, including a quick look at pregame and a shot of the three committed visitors, including Franklin, Brown and Brown's teammate, Orlando Bradford.

Big visitor for Bears

Cal couldn't keep its forward momentum going on the field, but the Golden Bears coaches are hopeful they can do enough to make a favorable impression on defensive tackle Drayton Carlberg, who was in town on an official visit. From the looks of what Carlberg had to say Sunday morning, Cal -- which is in Carlberg's top six schools -- might be able to keep itself in the mix until the end.

The Golden Bears also hosted a number of local unofficial visitors. One to keep an eye on for the 2016 class is quarterback Kevin Davidson. Though he has yet to receive his first offer, a number of Pac-12 programs are keeping in regular contact with him, and it could be just a matter of time until he grabs that first one.

UA jersey tour: Keenan Walker

October, 10, 2014
Oct 10
At his Under Armour All America jersey presentation, offensive lineman Keenan Walker posed for a picture in front of a backdrop with the words "Long Live Dreams" perfectly placed above his head.

His long arms stretched out, holding two helmets, his bright Under Armour jersey on his chest and a huge smile on his face. Walker, a University of Arizona commit, was living his dream.

It wasn't easy, though, as he took a path that most of his classmates in Scottsdale, Arizona, only read about in the news.

Growing up in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Walker and his parents lived in a rough neighborhood. His mother and father argued regularly about whether Walker should even be allowed to play basketball in their local park because of the danger in their area.

Walker wasn’t involved yet in sports, wasn’t doing well in school and didn’t have a lot of positivity surrounding him. As a child, his cousin, Stanford Walker, was killed, which prompted the family to make the move to Arizona when Walker was in seventh grade.

“We ripped him out of one environment and put him in another. You couldn’t think of anything more black and white opposite than Fort Wayne, Indiana. and Scottsdale, Arizona,” Jim said. “There were times when he felt out of place because he’s surrounded by a lot of kids that have been hand-fed their entire life, and he’s a guy who didn’t really have much growing up. It’s been an amazing transition for him.”

Walker was behind in English and math when they moved him to Arizona. Once he got acclimated and settled in, his grades and test scores began to rise. He was even awarded with a Presidential honor for having one of the biggest jumps in standard test scores for the year.

As his grades began to rise so to did his interest in sports. Walker and his dad checked out basketball and football practice to see which sport he would like to try. They chose basketball because he had a higher comfort level with the hardwood.

His basketball career was shortl-ived, though, as he and his dad laugh recalling the fact Walker would regularly foul out from being so aggressive.

“That was after his eighth grade year and we decided that he would play basketball,” Jim said. “Keenan here tends to foul out easily because he has that personality where you start bodying up on him and he will give it right back. He was a bruiser.”

After the basketball season Walker got a call from the club football coach, Matt Frazier, asking if he would like to try playing football as well. He and his father discussed it and decided it was worth trying.

“I remember we were in the parking lot, 20 minutes before his first game and I told the coach he hasn’t played football in four years, he has no idea what’s going on,” Jim said. “I asked if he could show him how to block and tackle before the game. He was trying to block kids and I just thought to myself, I hope this goes well because he doesn’t know what he’s doing.”

To say it went well is an understatement. Walker stuck with football and is now the No. 45 ranked prospect in the country.

At 6-foot-6, 282 pounds, Waker is one of the premier offensive tackles in the country and is a long ways away from the unmotivated kid in Fort Wayne.

At Walker’s jersey presentation, Jim stood up to say how proud he was of his son and who he has become. Emotions and the thoughts of how their lives could be so different flooded his eyes with tears. As he walked back to his seat, Jim put his hand on his son’s shoulder and thanked him.

Long Live Dreams was emblazoned above the family as they had all just experienced a dream of their own.

What one player are you looking forward to competing against?: Josh Sweat. They had us matched up at a few camps and I wasn’t able to do any one-on-ones with him. I haven’t gone against him at all. We want to go against each other, but they just haven’t matched us up yet. Hopefully when we get down there I can win the starting spot and we can go against each other.

If you could start a team with any other player in your class who would it be?: My boy Josh Sweat.

What was your earliest football memory?: When we were doing a hitting drill. I delivered a pretty powerful hit on a kid and I almost got in trouble by his parents. That was sixth grade. In Indiana we have a drill called hamburger drill. Two kids lay on their backs with their head together and the football by their heads. One kid has the football in their hands and then you get up and have to go after the kid with the football. He got it so I turned over and scooped him and kind of bodyslammed him. The next day I got pulled into my coaches office and they said that kid felt threatened by me. But I said it was just football.

Which football player did you idolize or want to be like when you were a kid?: I idolize right now, Richie Incognito because of how nasty he is. I got to watch Hard Knocks with him and ever since I saw him in practice and how he was beating everyone I just thought I want to do that.

If you could take on any pro player in their sport who would it be?: I never really played baseball that much, so I would like to get in there and swing the bat against someone. I just don’t know a lot of pitchers’ names, but I would like to do that.

Why do you wear your number?: I did wear No. 75 because that was cousin’s number and he passed away. I was just given my number, 63, my sophomore year and I told my coach that I’ll represent it no matter what the number is. It’s 66 right now, because one of my good friends moved here to play at Chaparral and he said how about you be No. 66 and I’ll be 6 and we’ll bring them hell. So when we run out of the tunnel together it says ‘666.’

What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?: I’m a pretty good artist. I like to draw in my spare time. I’ve been drawing since I was little and have always had the art itch. Every time I get a little upset I like to draw. Last year I got put into a drafting class, advanced art. I love drawing, just scratching stuff together and whatever I see with my eyes. When I was in Indiana I did graffiti in my garage. I designed my tattoo on my arm for my cousin, it’s a W for Walker and the year he was born.