Wildcats face challenges with recent decommitments but also secure recruits from other schools
College football coaches are restricted from discussing specific recruits until they have officially committed to a school. However, there are no NCAA regulations preventing them from speaking in general terms.
Although Arizona’s head coach, Jedd Fisch, may not address the recent decommitment of 5-star recruit Elijah Rushing, who was poised to become the highest-ranked recruit in program history, he can express his disappointment in losing Rushing and other recent decommits. Fisch has also taken the opportunity to share his thoughts on the current state of college football recruiting.
During a press conference preceding an upcoming game against Washington State, Fisch stated, “Commitments in football don’t hold the same weight as commitments in other college sports. It’s unfortunate. In other sports, a verbal commitment means that other coaches stop recruiting the player. But in football, a verbal commitment only motivates other coaches to recruit even harder.”
Rushing, a standout from Salpointe Catholic High School in Tucson, withdrew his commitment on Sunday. In his announcement, he criticized the program and expressed his belief that it was not the best environment for his development. Interestingly, Oregon defensive coordinator Tosh Lupoi was in attendance at Salpointe’s recent game, where he had the opportunity to watch Rushing and another decommit, 3-star defensive lineman Keona Wilhite, who also previously committed to Arizona.
According to 247Sports, there have been at least 20 recruits who decommitted from FBS programs since the beginning of October.
Fisch further stated, “This situation sends a negative message about commitment, both within the game and in these players’ lives. The significance of commitments is diminished. It almost renders them meaningless. It might be more appropriate for players to refrain from committing and instead wait until signing day to announce their school of choice.”
Although Fisch did not provide specific reasons for players’ decommitments, he referenced comments made by Kentucky coach Mark Stoops, a former assistant at Arizona. Stoops recently commented that Georgia had acquired high-quality players through NIL arrangements, following Georgia’s dominant victory over Kentucky.
“I believe Coach Stoops summed it up well,” Fisch remarked.
As of now, Arizona’s 2024 recruiting class includes 21 committed players and is ranked 44th in the nation by 247Sports. The Wildcats have experienced five decommitments during this cycle, with three players committing to other schools. Additionally, at least four of the 21 commitments were previously committed to other programs.
Prominent examples include 4-star in-state quarterback Demond Williams, who initially committed to Ole Miss, and 3-star receiver Landon Bell, who flipped his commitment from Washington to Arizona. Last week, the Wildcats also secured two decommits from San Diego State.
It is worth mentioning that Tetairoa McMillan, the highest-rated recruit in school history, had originally committed to Oregon but ultimately signed with Arizona on the last day of the early signing period in December 2021.
Fisch acknowledged the widespread nature of decommitments and transfers, stating, “Until we have better control over this situation within the infrastructure of college football, we will continue to face these challenges. We will persist in recruiting players who genuinely want to be a part of our program, whether they’ve committed or decommitted. On signing day, we will discover who truly remains with us.”
Alex Martin is your guide to the global phenomenon of football. With a focus on international leagues and tournaments, he provides match commentary, player interviews, and behind-the-scenes stories from the world of football.