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November 2, 2012

Friday rewind: The week in UA recruiting



The Wildcats moved on from their win over USC 24 hours after last Saturday's victory. However, the ramifications from that win for Arizona might continue to be felt as the 'Cats had a number of high-level visitors on campus for that momentous win in the Rich Rodriguez era.

Along with plenty of current Wildcat commits, there were some 2014 prospects in attendance as well. The common theme with the prospects who attended the win over USC was how well the Wildcat played against the Trojans.

"It just showed me and all the other AZ commits that were there on the trip that Rich Rodriguez definitely made a change to that program," UA running back commit Zachary Green told GOAZCATS.com this week. "We all can't wait to suit up and get on that field so we can make our change to the program."

Even though this was the Wildcats' second win over a ranked opponent this season, Green thinks the change in culture has been evident all season long.

"People may have doubted my decision or asked why I decided early and why I decided to pick Arizona," he said. "But now as the season has gone on, people understand why I made my decision and why it's the best place for me. They've been proving it the whole season by staying with teams like Stanford and Oregon State beating Oklahoma State and now USC.

"It's been all those years sine they beat USC, and Rich Rod just came in and changed that program."

For three-star athlete commit Devin Holiday, it was the atmosphere that stood out most about his trip to Tucson.

"It was very exciting and electrifying," Holiday told Rivals.com. "The fans were going wild and it was a great atmosphere. The crowd, especially because I was sitting in the 'Zona Zoo, even when they were losing, the crowd had a lot of spirit and were cheering them on and getting loud.

"That helped the players come back, too. I'm sure they could hear it. As long as the crowd doesn't get out of the game it helps you stay focused, too."

One 2013 commit who wasn't able to make it out to Tucson was glued to his TV watching the game.

"I did watch the game and it was very exciting," defensive tackle commit Tony Mekari told GOAZCATS.com. "I looked at my phone and saw we were down by one point, so from then on I watched the game and it was really exciting as soon as I got to the TV."

Mekari, who plays at Westlake Village (Calif.) Westlake, knows the kind of attention USC gets in his area and he thinks the impression of UA is changing as well with Rodriguez at the helm.

"For Arizona it means that it's moving from that bottom tier of teams in the Pac-12 that it was in last year and becoming a team people have to deal with to win the league," he said. "For me over here it's really exciting to be a part of something that's growing into a top in team in the Pac-12 next year and the years that follow."

It was not only a big game for the current UA commits as there were some 2014 prospects on hand as well for the big game.

One of those prospects resides in Tucson and is a big-time UA target. Tucson (Ariz.) Salpointe athlete prospect Cameron Denson was in attendance last weekend, and the Wildcats continue to impress the speedy recruit.

"I see Arizona differently now," Denson told Rivals.com. "Seeing Rich Rodriguez and his coaching staff … they're really good people and they recruit me really well. I like what they're doing over there."

A big aspect of Denson's recruitment will be if he wants to stay home to play his college football or not.

"There's a part of me that wants to stay here to play college football," Denson said. "But, right now, it really doesn't matter at all. I'm taking my time. For now, it was just nice to see Arizona beat one of the top 10 teams in the country."

Another top 2014 recruit who made the trip was Bryce Dixon, who came along with his teammate Green from Ventura, Calif. The tight end prospect has really started to see the offers roll in pretty regularly but he hasn't taken too many visits just yet.

"With them beating USC it was a big game," Dixon told Rivals.com. "It was a long drive out there but other than that it was really cool. The weather was really good and it was a great trip.

"They don't really throw to the tight end much, I think their tight end had one catch, but I can see myself playing like slot receiver or wide receiver as well as tight end so it doesn't bother me. Everybody was getting pumped up. It was a great environment for the whole game."

The win certainly didn't go unnoticed by the talented junior.

"I'll keep considering them," Dixon said. "They have a lot of potential in the years to come. A lot of people might want to go there now because they beat SC. That could be something good."

Matt MorenoMatt Moreno
GOAZCATS.com Senior Recruiting Editor

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