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Arizona football: 23 sign with Arizona; all are 'our kinda guy'

2013-02-07T00:00:00Z 2013-02-07T07:29:09Z Arizona football: 23 sign with Arizona; all are 'our kinda guy'Daniel Berk Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
February 07, 2013 12:00 am  • 

It was the hashtag that swept Tucson.

Every time the Arizona Wildcats announced a national letter of intent signing Wednesday, they included the Twitter tag "#AZOKGDAY."

The tag - well, the middle of it - is a long-existing recruiting philosophy of head coach Rich Rodriguez. OKG stands for "our kinda guy."

Rodriguez said Wednesday that he isn't concerned with the player's ranking or high school statistics. Rather, he wants to make sure each recruit is the type of guy that will fit in to the Wildcats' program on and off the field.

The Class of 2013 is filled with players who have been the UA's kind of guys for a while now.

The Wildcats signed 23 athletes on national signing day. The majority of the class was locked up months ago.

"There's always some suspense, but this is the earliest that I can ever remember (having) so many commitments," Rodriguez said.

"We knew we were going to a sign a full class, and we were hoping to have half the class locked up by the end of the summer - and that's a high number.

"I think we had almost three-fourths committed by then."

Like any signing day, Wednesday still came with a little drama.

Running back Mario Alford and linebacker Brandon Golson, junior college teammates from Georgia, signed with West Virginia despite verbally committing to the Wildcats in October. They follow former assistant Tony Gibson, who left Arizona for West Virginia last month.

The Wildcats filled one of those spots immediately on Wednesday, signing Fresno (Calif.) Edison High School quarterback Khari McGee. McGee was uncommitted entering the day.

Ranked as a two-star prospect by the Scout.com recruiting service, the 6-foot-3-inch, 205-pound McGee chose the Wildcats over offers from Oregon State and Utah. He is the third quarterback in the class, joining Las Vegas high school star Anu Solomon and junior college transfer Jesse Scroggins.

"He was too good of an athlete not to take," Rodriguez said. "He can play at this level. People have accused me of collecting quarterbacks. OK, guilty as charged, then. I like having two or three guys that we can work with."

McGee, though, is a rarity in this class. He's one of just three athletes who verbally committed to the Wildcats in 2013. The other 20 all pledged to Rodriguez and the UA by early December.

"We're not scrambling," said Matt Dudek, the director of on-campus recruiting and player personnel. "If you take out the scrambling factor, it makes it a lot easier. Will this happen next year? No, I don't think so. I think this was an anomaly.

"I hope it does, but I've been following recruiting forever and no one ever has it firmed up like this where guys weren't even taking visits anywhere."

That goes back to the OKGs.

Rodriguez, more entrenched at Arizona this recruiting season, knew the type of players he wanted and locked them up early. He didn't want guys who were looking at several schools and unsure about their future.

He wanted OKGs - and he got them.

"OKGs are talented and have a certain size and ability and all that, but it's most about the mentality they have," Rodriguez said.

"They like competition. They want to keep getting better and better. They want to be gym rats and keep working."

Extra points

• Ka'Deem Carey's legal problems will come with some consequences, Rodriguez said Wednesday. Speaking for the first time since Carey was charged with assault and - in a separate incident - kicked out of a UA basketball game, the Wildcats' coach said the UA is "disciplining him internally."

"He has work to do," Rodriguez said. "He's still part of the team."

Carey's next court date is scheduled for Feb. 28.

• Josh Kern has moved from quarterback to tight end/H-back, Rodriguez said. He redshirted last season.

• The Wildcats will begin spring practice March 2. They will practice for a week and then take a week off for spring break. The team will scrimmage at Phoenix College on March 29 at 7 p.m.

• New tight ends coach Charlie Ragle will also coach special teams this season. Ragle was promoted from assistant director of operations in December after former assistant Spencer Leftwich left for UTEP.

Arizona's 2013 Recruiting class

Pos. Name Ht. Wt. Hometown (last school)

DE Calvin Allen 6-5 240 Albuquerque, N.M. (La Cueva HS)

OT Jacob Alsadek 6-7 325 San Diego (Torrey Pines HS)

CB Derek Babiash 6-1 170 Poway, Calif. (Poway HS)

DE Jack Banda 6-3 230 Loganville, Ga. (Grayson HS)

DT Luca Bruno 6-4 282 Oak Park, Calif. (Oak Park HS)

RB Pierre Cormier 5-11 180 San Diego (Madison HS)

LB Ryan Dunn 6-3 210 Danville, Calif. (San Ramon Valley HS)

WR Paul Elvira 6-1 170 Tempe (Marcos de Niza HS)

WR Samajie Grant 6-0 175 Ontario, Calif. (Colony HS)

RB Zach Green 5-10 220 Ventura, Calif. (St. Bonaventure HS)

OG Steven Gurrola 6-2 285 Glendale (Glendale Community College)

CB Devin Holiday 5-10 170 San Marcos, Calif. (Mission Hills HS)

WR T.J. Johnson 5-8 165 Cape Coral, Fla. (Island Coast HS)

WR Mauriece Lee 5-9 190 Tempe (Marcos De Niza HS)

DT David Maka 6-5 330 Tustin, Calif. (Tustin HS)

ATH Khari McGee 6-3 210 Fresno, Calif. (Edison HS)

LB DeAndre Miller 6-2 200 Buckeye (Buckeye Union HS)

LB R.J. Morgan 6-2 200 Central Point, Ore. (Crater HS)

WR Nate Phillips 5-10 175 Chandler (Basha HS)

QB Anu Solomon 6-1 205 Las Vegas (Bishop Gorman HS)

LB Derrick Turituri 6-2 240 Central Point, Ore. (Crater HS)

WR Lee Walker 6-0 170 San Diego (Madison HS)

LB Philip Wright 6-1 225 Santa Rosa, Calif. (Cardinal Newman HS)

Where Arizona ranks

The Arizona Wildcats signed 23 athletes to national letters of intent on Wednesday.

Here's how the class stacks up:

• Scout.com ranks the Wildcats' class No. 27 in the country and fifth-best in the Pac-12, behind UCLA, Washington, Oregon and USC. Three athletes earned four-star rankings, 15 earned three stars, and five were two-star recruits.

• Rivals.com ranks the class 35th in the country and seventh in the conference behind UCLA, USC, Washington, Oregon, California and Arizona State. Two UA commits earned four stars, five were given two stars and the rest were three-star recruits.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



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