Sunday, February 06, 2005

 

Stoops Takes UA Recruiting To New Level

After the Sunday news shows this morning, I decided to log onto Arizonaathletics.com and check out the football recruiting class. I pay about nine dollars a month to get delayed, poor quality video of most of the UA games and the coaches shows, but it's the best I can do living in Texas. Today I watched Stoops' press conference about the 2005 signed recruits. Arizonaathletics.com has the press conference free here (page down to the Wed, Feb 2nd section). One thing is for sure from his comments, he really understands recruiting and has come up with an excellent strategy for recruiting from and in Ariona. Here is the list of UAs recruits.

One of Coach Stoops' first comments was that geographically, UA is strategically positioned to recruit heavily both in California and Texas. This may seem like a no brainer but this mileage-based fact was completely lost on Tomey and Mackovich. As many of you recall, Tomey made a living recruiting from the South Pacific - big boys but he could never make an entire team from there. Tomey usually gave up on California recruiting from the beginning and Texas did not even cross his mind. Mackovich actually tried recruiting in TX but he was hated there almost more than in Tucson, so he was completely ineffective in TX as well as everywhere else he tried to recruit.

Stoops' second point was that his coaches recruited hard in ARIZONA. Our previous "coaches" gave up every year to asu and were lucky to get even a decent Tucson player to stay at UA. Certainly there were enough kids in Phoenix who could morally never play for asu and ended up in Tucson, but not due to aggressive recruiting. I have several close friends who coach football for good teams in Phoenix and, prior to Stoops, they could not hardly get UA recruiting to return their phone calls, let alone evaluate their players. Stoops changed all that and got most of the best players in AZ (who stayed in AZ) to come to Tucson.

Now don't just take my word for it. The 2005 UA recruiting class has been ranked in the top 20 in every ranking I could find. SI.com has Arizona ranked 13th nationally and 2nd in the Pac-10. Fox Sports/Sporting News has UA 14th and 3rd in the Pac. Rivals.com has UA ranked 21st and 3rd in the Pac behind USC and Cal. Scout.com has UA as 14th and 3rd in the Pac. College football news has us third in the Pac. Finally, Si.com's Stewart Mandel put UA in the winners column and summarized the class like this:
Winner: Arizona. The past two years, Arizona didn't even finish among the nation's top 50. This year, they nearly cracked the top 10. Second-year Arizona coach Mike Stoops has brought a level of energy to Tucson unseen in years. He worked his old Big 12 connections to land eight Texas prospects, not to mention top 10 QB Willie Tuitama and several touted receivers.

Last year, I commented on an article "Stoops Brings The Passion" in which I said Stoops brings an intensity to Arizona football which has not been seen in a while. This recruiting class proves his enthusiasm, work ethic and skills as a recruiter and I'd like to think that handing asu's ass to them in the final game of last season proved his coaching ability.



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