Arizona Wildcats Football November Recruiting Update

Brian PedersenFeatured ColumnistNovember 11, 2013

Sep 14, 2013; Tucson, AZ, USA; Arizona Wildcats head coach Rich Rodriguez on the sidelines during the first quarter against the Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners at Arizona Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports
Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

As well as the Arizona Wildcats are playing on the field during the 2013 college football season, they're killing it even better on the recruiting trail.

With nearly three months until February's national signing day, Arizona has already secured commitments from 27 players, the most of any Pac-12 Conference school and a tally that (as of Monday) ranks second nationally behind Tennessee, according to recruiting site

With the Wildcats set to graduate 10 starters and possibly lose star running back Ka'Deem Carey early to the NFL Draft, Arizona's coaches have been aggressive in securing early commitments to shore up those holes for 2014.

The pitch? "We don't recruit guys to be backups," Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez told Fox Sports Arizona's Steve Rivera.

Key needs

Arizona is most in need of defensive reinforcements, as the Wildcats are set to lose five starters. That includes two on the defensive line and two linebackers in its 3-3-5 alignment.

Additionally, Arizona's pass-rushing lineup, which involves eight defensive backs and replacements on the D-line, needs additional bodies to provide depth.

Arizona is loaded at receiver and has options on the roster to replace senior quarterback B.J. Denker, but no one on the team appears ready to step in if Carey goes pro.

Most Important Commits

Of the players Arizona has pulled in to this point, the most important one might be WR/DB/KR Cameron Denson of Tucson (Ariz.) Salpointe Catholic. The electric speedster is a human highlight reel, with touchdowns rushing and receiving as well as via interception and punt returns for the Arizona top-rated Division II school. But even more important than his skills may be the fact the Wildcats were able to hold on to the top recruit in its region, something the school hasn't been able to do most years.

Arizona Wildcats 2014 Commitments
Name# of StarsPositionHeightWeight
Cameron Denson4WR/DB6'1"170
Layth Friekh4OL6'5"251
Nick Wilson4RB5'11"196
Marquis Ware4LB6'2"215
Jamardre Cobb4LB6'2"230
Naijiel Hale4DB5'10"175
Rodney Carr4ATH6'0"185
Antonio Smothers3LB6'1"230
Jonathan Haden3ATH5'8"180
Kaelin Deboskie3WR5'9"185
Brandon Dawkins3QB6'3"206
Darnell Cloy3TE6'3"220
Jeff Worthy3DL6'3"285
Trevor Wood3TE6'6"238
Levi Walton3OL6'4"280
Jordan Morgan3WR6'3"186
Tony Ellison3ATH5'11"170
Kaige Lawrence3OL6'4"290
JR Hunt3DB6'3"190
Kwesi Mashack3DB5'10"185
Sharif Williams3DL6'2"300
Jerod Cody3DL6'3"255
Jamie Byrd3DB5'11"190
Jace Whittaker2DB5'9"150
Devon Brewer2DB5'10"185
Patrick Glover2DB6'1"190
Josh Pollack2K5'11"165 (as of Nov. 11, 2013)

As far as immediate need goes, linebackers Jamardre Cobb and Marquis Ware may be asked to come right in and play, similar to how Arizona put true freshman Scooby Wright immediately into the starting lineup. Both have that rugged, sturdy LB build to them, but also with the kind of speed needed to cover a lot of space in Arizona's 3-3-5 defense.

Offensive lineman Layth Friekh, whom the Wildcats plucked out of Arizona State's backyard in Peoria, Ariz., will come in already knowing how to block for a zone-read offense like the one he's playing for in high school. Running back Nick Wilson could be the answer to the "what will we do if Ka'Deem Carey leaves?" question.

Most Important Targets

Arizona Wildcats' Top 2014 Targets
Name# of StarsPositionHeightWeight
Damian Price5OL6'5"295
John Smith5ATH6'1"200
Jalen Tabor4DB6'1"182
Andrew Mike4OL6'7"270
Marcus Griffin3DL6'3"300
Calvin Tipton3ATH6'0"173
Dominique Robertson3OL6'5"300
Jabril Frazier3LB6'4"225 (as of Nov. 11, 2013)

Arizona is fighting it out with several East Coast schools to get offensive tackle Damian Prince out of the Washington, D.C., area, but if they were to pick him up the Wildcats might not need a standout running back to continue being successful running the ball.

The Wildcats face an even tougher battle to pluck Long Beach (Calif.) Poly athlete John Smith away from the likes of Alabama, Notre Dame and USC, but he'd be the perfect player for Arizona's five-man secondary with his ability to cover and hit.

And defensive tackle Marcus Griffin, who is leaning toward Washington State, is the kind of lineman that could plug up big holes and occupy multiple blockers, freeing up Arizona's corps of athletic linebackers to fly through to the quarterback or stuff an oncoming running back.