Mario Alford, the 4-star junior college recruit from Georgia Military College in Milledgeville, GA, decommitted from Arizona and instead signed and faxed his Letter of Intent to West Virginia this morning. The move was not-so-shocking considering his lead Arizona recruiter, Tony Gibson, left the Wildcat program during the off season to join the WVU coaching staff. However, what is shocking was Alford’s quote this morning regarding his decision.
Mario Alford chose West Virginia over Arizona on Signing Day 2013.
"I feel like I can come in and take over up there," said Alford. "I know they really need me up there and I'm not sure Arizona did. I feel like I can make a name for myself at West Virginia,” said Alford.
How is one to analyze Alford’s comments?
Fans may look at the decision and say, well, typical Arizona. The school just can’t land top recruits. Based on the Arizona’s history since joining the Pac-12 Conference in 1978 there’s a hint of truth to that sentiment. The alternative, though, is to really consider exactly what it is Alford is saying. In short,
Arizona doesn’t need me right now. I want to play, immediately, and there’s a chance I won’t at Arizona.
Alford’s decision this morning should give Wildcat fans hope for the future.
If a 4-star, high-value player with a timed 10.21 100-meter dash chose WVU over Arizona because the Mountaineers “really need” him, then that says a lot about Arizona’s current roster, as well as the recruits they’re bringing in at the skill positions.
Alford, a slot receiver and all-purpose player, would indeed struggle to beat out several returning Wildcats. Notably, Arizona returns multiple proven wide out and slot receivers such as 2012 Belitnikoff Award semi-finalist Austin Hill. Similarly, returning players David Richards (sophomore), Johnny Jackson (sophomore), and Garic Wharton (junior) all made noise last season. Finally, sophomores or redshirt freshmen-to-be Trey Griffey (son of baseball hall of famer Ken Griffey, Jr.), Jarrell Bennett, and Clives George are quality guys that will compete for playing time this upcoming season.
There are some out there that would argue that Arizona doesn’t have talent. It’s a ridiculous argument, but it’s one that’s been made throughout the social network sphere. Hence, Alford’s signing day comments beg the question, if Arizona doesn’t have talent then why is a 4-star recruit with two years of JUCO football under his belt making comments about not being sure if Arizona needed him right away.
The answer is they don’t.
Follow me on Twitter @GaryRandazzo, and follow the website @WSRArizona. Trending Signing Day hashtags on Twitter include #NSD, #Signing Day, and #AZOKGDay.