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Arizona Football Adds 16 in December Signing Period - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

Arizona Football Adds 16 in December Signing Period

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As the Wildcats prepare for the Foster Farms Bowl in the San Francisco area, we're now learning more about their class from the new early signing period in December.  Here's more from Arizona Athletics:

FOOTBALL

Arizona Football Adds 16 in December Signing Period
The Wildcats put a premium on adding size and athleticism in their 2018 recruiting class, which began taking shape Wednesday during the new December early signing period.

TUCSON, Ariz. –  Head coach Rich Rodriguez and the Arizona football program took the first official steps in building their 2018 recruiting class, announcing Wednesday that 16 student-athletes signed National Letters of Intent on the first day of the December signing period. Rodriguez and his coaching staff will continue their recruiting efforts and add to the class in the coming weeks before the February signing period and beyond.

“We are very excited to welcome these additions to our program for the 2018 season,” Rodriguez said. “Our goal was to get bigger, stronger and more athletic as a football team, and we have done that. We also have the opportunity to add to this class in the coming months, and our staff will continue looking for the best players and best people to address the remaining needs.”

Arizona hauled in nine standouts on offense and seven on defense, while going coast-to-coast to round out the group. The Wildcats bring in 10 players from California, three from Texas, two from Arizona and one from Georgia.

“These young men all bring a toughness that we are looking forward to adding to our program,” Rodriguez said. “They have the drive and work ethic that shows football is important to them, and they know we’re expecting them to come in and compete to make us a better team immediately.”

The critical areas addressed in the earning signing period were adding size and depth to the lines on each side of the ball. In total, six of the 16 signees are either offensive or defensive linemen.

“Our biggest need was to get bigger and stronger in the trenches on both sides of the ball,” Rodriguez said. “We’re excited about the linemen we’re bringing in, and we’ll continue to make these positions a priority as we complete this class and others in the coming seasons.”

Defensively, City College of San Francisco product PJ Johnson (6-foot-5, 315 pounds) joined high school talents Mykee Irving (6-foot-4, 320 pounds) and Nahe Sulunga (6-foot-3, 255 pounds). Johnson and Irving are expected to enroll in classes in January, which will allow them the opportunity to participate in spring practices.

On the offensive side, local Amphi High School standout David Watson (6-foot-5, 290 pounds) joined San Diego product Donovan Laie (6-foot-6, 290 pounds) and Glendale Community College transfer Steven Bailey (6-foot-2, 290 pounds). Watson is expected to enroll in January and can begin working with Garin Justice, who was named the program’s new offensive line coach on Tuesday night.

The theme of getting bigger and more athletic continued at other offensive positions, too. Receivers Tre Adams (6-foot-3, 190 pounds) and Thomas Marcus (6-foot-3, 180 pounds) provide more size and length for the passing game in addition to the explosive Jailen Bailey (5-foot-11, 180 pounds). Meanwhile, tight ends Jake Peters (6-foot-4, 240 pounds) and Zach Williams (6-foot-3, 230 pounds) offer versatility for the pass and run games. Additionally, the Wildcats signed running back Darrius Smith (5-foot-9, 170 pounds) from Pearland, Texas.

Arizona also brings in added length on defense, especially in the secondary. At cornerback, McKenzie Barnes (6-foot-2, 170 pounds) and Jhevon Hill (6-foot-3, 185 pounds) each signed, and safety Christian Young (6-foot-2, 195 pounds) inked his name, too. The final addition was linebacker Issaiah Johnson (6-foot-2, 210 pounds), who adds more athleticism to a position that already includes 2017 Freshmen All-Americans Tony Fields II and Colin Schooler.

“It was important for us to build off the class that we brought in this year, which was one of the largest freshmen classes in the country,” Rodriguez said. “We played more freshmen than any team in the Pac-12 and the best part was many of those players had significant roles in the success of this year’s team. The foundation they set has allowed us to recruit another class of players that we believe will position us for greater success as we strive to win a Pac-12 Championship.”

The 2017 Wildcats are one week away from taking on Purdue in the Foster Farms Bowl next Wednesday, Dec. 27, at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.

Arizona Athletics has created a one-stop shop for fans with information on tickets, travel packages and bowl events. To purchase tickets and learn more about joining the Wildcats at the Foster Farms Bowl, visit www.arizonawildcats.com/bowlgame.

Arizona Wildcats’ December Signing Period Roster

Name                                     Pos.          Ht.        Wt.         Hometown (Last School)                                                                   

Tre Adams                             WR            6-3        190         Frisco, Texas (Wakeland HS)

Steven Bailey                        OL             6-2        290         Litchfield Park, Ariz. (Peoria Centennial HS/Glendale CC)

Jailen Bailey                          WR            5-11      180         San Diego, Calif. (Lincoln HS)

McKenzie Barnes                 CB             6-2        170         Fresno, Calif. (Edison HS)

Jhevon Hill                             CB             6-3        185         San Bernadino, Calif. (Cajon HS)

Mykee Irving                         DT             6-4        320         Calabasas, Calif. (Calabasas HS)

Issaiah Johnson                    LB              6-2        210         Los Alamitos, Calif. (Los Alamitos HS)

PJ Johnson                             DL             6-5        315         Sacramento, Calif. (Burbank HS/City College of San Francisco)

Donovan Laie                       OL             6-6        290         Oceanside, Calif. (Oceanside HS)

Thomas Marcus                   WR            6-3        180         San Diego, Calif. (San Diego HS)

Jake Peters                            TE              6-4        240         Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif. (Santa Margarita HS)

Darrius Smith                        RB             5-9        170         Pearland, Texas (Dawson HS)

Nahe Sulunga                       DE             6-3        255         Inglewood, Calif. (Calabasas HS)

David Watson                       OL             6-5        290         Tucson, Ariz. (Amphi HS)

Zach Williams                        TE              6-3        230         Johns Creek, Ga. (Johns Creek HS)

Christian Young                    S                6-2        195         Richmond, Texas (Foster HS)

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