Arizona stocks up on defense for signing day
Rich Rodriguez took the first step to fix Arizona's struggles on defense by shaking up the coaching staff on that side of the ball.
He took the next one on national signing day, tilting the 15-player class heavily toward the defensive side of the ball.
Arizona signed 10 defensive players to national letters of intent on Wednesday, adding to a 2016 class that includes three other defensive players already at the school.
''I think we filled a lot of wants and needs with this class,'' Rodriguez said.
Arizona fired defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel and defensive line coach Bill Kirelawich last month in an attempt to shore up a defense that allowed 463 yards and 35.7 points per game last season. Former Boise State defensive coordinator Marcel Yates was hired to replace Casteel and the new recruiting class gives him more to work with.
Other things to know:
Top 25 Class: No.
Best in class: QB Khalil Tate. While the Wildcats put a lot of focus on defense, Tate has a chance to be the game-changer in this class. The native of Gardena, California, is one of the nation's top dual-threat quarterbacks and could be the prototypical quarterback for Rodriguez's zone read offense.
Best of the rest: OL Michael Eletise. The 4-star recruit from Hawaii is considered one of the best guards in the country. At 6-foot-4, 295 pounds, Eletise should give the Wildcats some much-needed depth on the offensive line.
Late addition: WR Shawn Poindexter. Arizona got a last-second flip on this one. Poindexter, of Glendale Community College, committed to Marshall on Tuesday, but changed his mind a day later and signed with the Wildcats.
One that got away: QB Victor Viramontes whittled his decision down to Arizona and California, ultimately signing with the Bears on Wednesday.
How they'll fit in: Arizona has had one of the Pac-12's worst defenses over the past few years and the new recruits should help provide the Wildcats with some size and depth. The Wildcats also signed receiver Devaughn Cooper and running back J.J. Taylor, adding to their cache of offensive playmakers.
For the full list: http://www.arizonawildcats.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB-OEM-ID=30700&ATCLID=210685364