Getting Ross not only means the Wildcats land a four-star player. Sure, they get a guy who is rated as the fourth-best corner back in the class. That is big time. The Cats have gotten some good recruits the past few season under Mike Stoops and his staff, but they have never landed a player who was a top-five player at his position.
That alone is important, but getting Ross means more.
Sure he’ll come in and push juniors Wilrey Fontenot and Antoine Cason. He along with Cam Nelson and Michael Turner will really solidify the Wildcats defensive backfield that has taken some hits to their depth with graduation and transfers.
Ross is a huge get when it comes to the future of Arizona football, but he is just as important as a symbol as he is a football player.
By landing Ross the Wildcats are serving notice to the Pac-10 and the nation that they plan on recruiting on a national level.
Ross become the third player that the Wildcats landed that USC really wanted. JC players Louis Holmes and Gabe Long were important of recruits for the immediate success of the Wildcats, but getting a high schooler, a high schooler from Southern California nonetheless, is huge.
To be fair, the Trojans got their fare share of players that Arizona wanted. They landed guy like C.J. Gable and Shareece Wright. They landed several other players that the Wildcats did not get in on, but to steal away a handful of players that the Trojans made a push for is important.
The Cats got Ross over the current big dog in the Pac-10 and a team in Oregon that was ruling the roost prior to the Pete Carroll juggernaut. In fact, the two teams finished first and second in the league this year. The Duck’s lone regular season loss was to the Trojans and they combined to win 21 games.
The commitment sends a message to the Pac-10 that Mike Stoops has ratcheted up the recruiting another notch. His first year he got players that were looking at Kansas State, Iowa State, Arkansas and Utah. Good, decent programs, but not the heavy hitters. Last year the Cats upped the ante and beat out schools like UCLA for Adrien McCovy and Eben Britton, Oklahoma State for Brandon Tatum and Texas for Xavier Kelly.
Those are certainly all solid to spectacular programs, but this year the Cats got elite players. Everyone wanted Louis Holmes. Florida, Florida State, Oklahoma, Tennessee and LSU were all in the mix with the Cats and Trojans for the 5-star DE. Texas and USC came calling for Devin Ross late in the process. Derke Robinson was a Texas commit for a time. Terrell Reece had Nebraska and Steve Spurrier clamoring for his services.
While Pete Carroll certainly has his eye on what is going on in Tucson, he isn’t exactly shaking in his boots. USC may have wanted Ross, Long and Holmes, but they are still bringing in a top-five class. They are still loaded.
It is the rest of the Pac-10 who has to wonder what is happening in the desert. Currently the Cats are ranked 18th in the nation (the Ross commit has not been factored in) and third in the conference. The Wildcats have as many four star recruits as UCLA and Cal and more than any other school in the league not named USC. The Wildcats and Trojans are also the only teams with a five-star recruits, though it must be noted that a few committed players have recently been downgraded.
Another benefit is that Ross played and excelled at the Army All-American game. While it would have been huge if Ross had announced at the game, it was still good PR for the program. This marks the second straight year the Wildcats have had at least one player at the game, putting their name right up with the big boys of the sport.
Ross’ announcement came on Fox Sports in Southern California and that was big enough. There is Ross posing with a UA hat and helmet on a broadcast getting beamed into the homes of potential future recruits. He essentially broadcast the Arizona recruiting message on a cable network that caters to fans in the USC and UCLA strong hold.
More than likely Ross will come in and challenge the older players, but be the team’s third corner back. He’ll have an impact on the program on the field this year, but his importance will grow over the years. Other players in this class could have a bigger role next season, but few players in this class will have as big of an impact down the line.