November 13, 2007

Final two games will determine '08 class

National signing day isn't until February, but the next three weeks could determine more about Arizona's recruiting class than any other time.

This season's final two games against BCS top-10 foes Oregon and Arizona State is no picnic. Right or wrong, the perception of where the UA's program under Mike Stoops is headed will be cast:

  • Two blowout losses, and Stoops and his staff are likely to lose out on some recruits who are on the fence.

  • A split and there could be some major recruiting victories in January.

  • Two upset wins and even the National Top 100 prospects would have to consider moving to the desert.

    But let's be realistic, here. If the Cats can simply be competitive and put up a strong showing in both games, Stoops should be able to sell the "we're one player away" argument in living rooms come December and January.

    To break into the upper division of the Pac-10, Stoops and his coaching staff need difference-makers. I suspect there are a few lined up on offense, but they're very, very young.

    Defensively, this recruiting class has to be a home run to eventually supplement the losses of Antoine Cason and Spencer Larsen.

    All offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes needs to do is turn on the video of Air-Zona, and start mailing out national letters of intent. I can hear Dykes now: "First quarterback to commit gets the scholarship."

    Stoops would love to offset Air-Zona with a consistent running game. They need a multi-purpose back like Ryan Bass to do that. In many ways - and I hate to ever pin hopes on one guy - Bass could be the commitment magnet that draws other top prospects to Tucson.

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