Tuesday, July 9, 2013
ESPN 300 teammates eyeing Arizona
By Erik McKinney
The 2014 recruiting cycle started slowly for many Pac-12 programs, but conference schools have begun to make an impact on the national scene of late. Leading the way has been Arizona, with verbal commitments from a conference-high 12 recruits. And the Wildcats, led by coach Rich Rodriguez, are still making an impact on some of the region's top talent.
Over the past two weeks, Arizona landed commitments from five players, including athlete Rodney Carr (Los Angeles/Salesian) during an unofficial visit. The commitment from the three-star defensive back was a win for Arizona, but it could lead to an even bigger payday, as Carr's teammates -- ESPN 300 athlete Marquis Ware and ESPN 300 outside linebacker Jamardre Cobb -- are now seriously considering the Wildcats.
"I know Arizona is at the top right now," said Ware, who accompanied Cobb and Carr on the visit to Arizona late last month. "It was nice, and I know we really liked that trip. It's close to home, too."
But Ware isn't yet close to making a decision, adding that he hasn't begun narrowing down a list of possibilities that includes Cal, Florida State, Miami, Oklahoma, Stanford, Texas A&M, UCLA and Wisconsin, among others. He did say he would like to make a commitment before the start of his senior season, but he then will take all five of his official visits, either during or after the season.
While some schools are torn on whether the nation's No. 118 player overall will line up at tight end or outside linebacker at the next level, Ware said he very much prefers defense.
"I feel I'd be better at 'backer," he said. "Outside or middle, it doesn't really matter."
Ware and Cobb -- the nation's No. 176 player -- have been busy this spring and summer with sponsor camps, although the Arizona trip is the only unofficial visit they've taken out of the area. And the Wildcats will have another opportunity to make an impact at the end of the month, as the group -- which also includes 2015 athlete Kyahva Tezino -- will be back in Arizona on July 27.
"It was amazing," Cobb said of the June visit. "It was a nice trip and great atmosphere. It was kind of hot out there, but the new building is going to be nice."
That new building is the reason the group will be back out there later this month, as the football facility will be complete.
"The new facility will be done -- that's why we're taking the trip," Cobb said. "We want to see how it looks when it's completed."
Cobb, like Ware, would like to take all five official visits and still could do so even after making his verbal commitment, though he has no timeline for that. At this point, Cobb said Arizona, Florida State and Oklahoma have the majority of his interest, and Ohio State and Tennessee are in the mix, as well.
There is no package deal for Ware and Cobb, although after playing football together since they were 10 years old, the two have talked about continuing into college together.
"We're working on it," Cobb said. "It's family. He's my big cousin."
After seeing Arizona again in late July, there are no further plans for the highly-regarded teammates to take more trips. At this point, they are looking forward to some down time on and off the field, as they prepare for their final high school season and what is likely to be a busy finish to the recruiting calendar.