There was a time that five and four-star prospects in the state of Arizona came only every so often. Now over the last few years, we are seeing much more of them each and every year.
Arizona was home to the number one quarterback in the nation last year for the 2014 class with Kyle Allen out of Desert Mountain. For 2015, Arizona is home to one of the top playmakers in Christian Kirk from Saguaro and the top-ranked offensive tackle on the west coast in Keenan Walker from Chaparral.
We all know how great these players are but with guys like Allen, Mark Andrews and now Kirk getting these highly touted tags while in high school, it means that the perception nationally of players out of Arizona has grown considerably.
“I consider it to be a top heavy state,” ESPN National Recruiting Director Tom Luginbill told Sports360AZ. “It might not have the depth of top line players year-in and year-out. But those first eight to ten guys are now being viewed as national recruits.”
With great talent, comes great competition for the local universities as well with the home conference being the Pac-12. Arizona’s elite are now grasping the attention from the best and most storied programs college football has to offer. Great for the state from a high school stand point and good but also bad for the big in-state schools.
“So what you’re having is an enhanced competition to keep players in-state from outside of the Pac-12,” mentioned Luginbill. “It’s a reflection of the level of competition has grown but it also creates more challenges for ASU and U of A not just from the UCLA’s and USC’s and Utah’s.”
Arizona State and Arizona have landed some of the best but not all. Trevor Wood, Tyler Whiley, Cameron Denson are among a few that stayed in state last year. Bryce Perkins, Keenan Walker, Cade Cote and Steven Miller are staying this year. But both schools failed to land Kyle Allen, Mark Andrews, Christian Kirk and Brian Lewerke just to name a few who are all at or headed to major programs in the SEC, Big Ten and Big 12.
“If ASU and U of A are going to be at their best, they cannot let the best players get out of state,” Luginbill stated. “Then they have to supplement out of California. But when an A&M is coming in and a Oklahoma is coming in and a Texas is coming in, it is a reflection of the competition which I think has risen considerably over the years.”
Be sure to continue to check in with Sports360AZ.com for complete Signing Day 2015 news between now and February 4th.