The star newcomer of Rich Rodriguez's debut crew will not count as a member of his initial recruiting class.
Brian Wagner, who was third in the nation in tackles last year (147), used an NCAA loophole to transfer out of Akron and on to Tucson, where he will own a single year of eligibility for Arizona. Wagner will likely start immediately and anchor a brand-new unit of linebackers, his presence a godsend for a group that was in shambles at times in 2011.
So what exactly is the NCAA rule that allows Wagner's transfer and immediate eligibility? Because Wagner will be seeking a graduate degree that wasn't offered at his previous school—biostatistics—he's allowed to pick a school that does offer that program.
Via the Arizona Daily Star's Ryan Finley, Wagner said:
It's the degree I want, and not a lot of people have it. I can get a good part of that done during my year here. From a football standpoint, it seems like they have a need for a one-year guy. I'm excited to help.
That is a huge—if brief—addition.
But Wagner's not the only impact player Rodriguez snagged despite his short tenure (just over two months on the job). And most of the new guys (the actual recruits who count towards this class) will be staying four years instead of just one.
Here's a closer look at Arizona's top seven commits for 2012: