If you build it they will come.
This week Arizona received a verbal commitment from San Diego native Lee Walker. Not yet ranked by the major recruiting services, Walker is a two way player with wide-out and defensive back credentials for the 2013 class. While the news isn’t a major development on the surface, the underlying story as reported in the Tuscon Citizen is the reason why Lee’s decision was so easy.
Anthony Gimino quoted Walker in Citizen’s article as attributing his verbal in large part to the new north end-zone renovation project,
“I was amazed. I never knew the Arizona Wildcats had all of that.”
No, Lee, you didn’t know Arizona had all of that, but now you do. And if head coach Rich Rodriguez gets his way, other recruits will know as well. In the short time Rodriguez has spent on the UA campus, he has done an excellent job of convincing young prep talent the ‘Cats are on the rise.
According to the university, the project’s ultimate budget is a Dr. Evil-esque $72.3 million. No doubt the number is high, but if the Wildcats are intent on competing with the best in the Pac-12, they are doing the right thing by upgrading facilities.
Word on the upgraded facilities appears to be getting out. Currently the list of verbal commitments for the class of 2013 is solid top to bottom with 23 already on the list. Rivals has two four stars and eleven three star prospects, giving the Wildcats the third highest rating in the conference.
All over the country programs are putting money into stadium renovations and facility improvements. Just within the Pac-12 alone, schools such as USC and Washington are in the cosmetic arms race. The Trojans are finalizing the John McKay Center and UW is scheduled for a 2013 unveiling of an improved high-tech Husky Stadium. Even Colorado is planning on a new athletic administration building.
Win, lose, or draw, the name of the game is to look appealing to any prospect that sets foot on campus. Arizona, believes is has the coach that can get recruits to the bargaining table in Rodriguez. Now the school has the toys to close the deal.
Bear Down Arizona. Wins are next.