Like every position on the charts, the Wildcat coaches targeted many defensive ends they liked early and got in on them. From that early list they landed one of their top targets in LeVar Brown and after evaluation throughout the summer and fall they offered and nabbed late bloomer Ron Jackson.
Jackson and Brown are both definite red-shirt candidates for the defensive end spot due to the overwhelming depth at the position. The Wildcats will return seniors Louis Holmes and Jason Parker, junior Jonathan Turner and sophomore Michael Shelton and will have the services of Ricky Elmore and D'Aundre Reed after their completion of their red-shirt years in 2006.
Holmes and Turner should be shoe-ins to start at end for the Cats in 2007 but the competition throughout the spring, summer and fall should be fun to watch. Parker has been a model role player for the Cats and has improved every year on campus. Shelton has had streak of brilliance and bouts with injuries but has the physical tools to be a special edge rusher.
The two freshmen, Elmore and Reed, are both very talented speed rushers on the edge and both have improved immensely since stepping on campus just a few months ago. Reed is being looked at as potentially ‘great' by many of the Wildcat coaches. He could easily step up and find himself starting at some point this season if Holmes or Turner struggle like both did at times in 2006.
Of the two signed, Brown is further along and could possibly see the field in 2007 if he enrolls on time and adapts quickly. Jackson will fight for playing time but should ultimately red-shirt. The depth of the defensive end position has to make many a Cat fan smile as the talent level has improved by leaps and bounds in just three short years.
Pre-Recruiting Cycle Need…2-3 DE
SIGNED…2 (LeVar Brown and Ron Jackson)
WildcatInsider.com Position Recruiting Grade…A-
Although the Wildcat coaching staff got two of their top targets for the position the grade has to be an A- for the time being. As soon as these young guys step on campus and actually enroll at Arizona then the grade will go up. Brown still has a lot of work to do to meet the entrance requirements for Arizona. On talent alone the addition of this defensive ends class to the depth chart is impressive. In the end the Wildcat coaches met and slightly exceeded their need at the position.
Throughout the years of Arizona Football the Wildcat program has had very good defensive ends. The best of the bunch is still NFL Pro Bowler and three-time Super Bowl Champion Tedy Bruschi. Bruschi still holds the all time career sacks record. The Wildcats have had improved defensive end play under the Stoops regime and they looked to add more talent to the depth chart in 2007.
A look at the defensive end depth chart post signing day.