Sumlin Ready To Re-Connect on AZ Recruiting Trails

TUCSON — New University of Arizona head football coach Kevin Sumlin has hit the ground running in Tucson after being officially introduced as Rich Rodriguez’s replacement on Tuesday morning. Fortunately, he knows the exact path to recruiting Arizona with just a few weeks left before National Signing Day next month.

“We’re going to have to evaluate and recruit,” Sumlin explained. “I think some continuity will be important.”

While at Texas A&M Sumlin landed a handful of elite local talent including wide receiver Christian Kirk (Saguaro High School), Kyle Allen (Desert Mountain High School) and Qualen Cunningham (Hamilton High School). 

“I have a bunch of relationships, obviously in the Phoenix area,” he said with a chuckle. “It’s not like I’m going to be going some places I’ve never been. We know the state pretty well.”

Sumlin will retain defensive coordinator and key recruiter Marcel Yates but it hasn’t been determined which other members of Rodriguez’s staff will be brought back.

The Wildcats signed 16 players in the early signing period and have “five or six left” according to Sumlin to use on the 2018 class.

The 53-year-old head coach has amassed an 86-43 record during his 10 seasons as head coach at the University of Houston and A&M. His deal with Arizona is worth $14.5 million over five years.

A Valley native, Eric has had a passion for the Arizona sports scene since an early age. He has covered some of the biggest events including Super Bowls, national championships and the NBA and MLB playoffs in his near 20 years in local media.