Head Coach John Mackovic
2001 Signing Day
"We are really excited about the people that we signed today. These are the kind of people who we want to bring here. As we took a look at things once I got here, we knew that we wanted more size. Everyone wants speed, and everyone wants strength, but as I have watched on television the past couple of years, and in talking with people, two compete you have to be bigger and more physical. That is the good thing about a lot of these players, they have a lot of range, size and growth potential. It is also a very athletic class, across the board."
"We do expect everyone that we have signed to qualify, although not all of them have yet. Some of them have some work to do in that respect, but we do expect to have everyone qualify. Also, there were no junior college guys in the class. We did not discriminate against the JC guys, but we were looking for guys who would be the best fit for our program, and these players that we signed were a better fit."
"Also, as for Camp Cochise (fall camp in Douglas, Ariz.), we will most likely move the training camp to Tucson this year. I really want to avail our fans the opportunity to come out and watch us practice during the summer. I think that the facilities that we have up here are going to meet our needs better than if we had to transplant them (to Douglas). We are also going to close practice during the year like most school do."
Comments on signeesMike Bell:
"Mike is a very talented and versatile athlete. You don't have to watch him too much to see his natural abilities. Coming out of high school, he has outstanding size, and we hope to develop that into good strength. We would like him to get stronger. He is definitely someone who is going to compete for playing time this year."
"He is a big tight end and on the physical side at 6-foot-5, 261 pounds, to start with. We are looking at keeping his weight at a reasonable place, like where he is now. If he gets here and grows and gets bigger, than that is okay if he grows into it."
"Darrell is a very good defensive back with a lot of size. He can play safety, and probably the other positions that we have in the defensive backfield. There are a lot of spots for defensive backs to play here."
"Nic is a left-handed quarterback who is a very interesting competitor. I was talking to his mother last night, and I said that he has a very refreshing outlook. I believe that he will bring leadership to this class. He is not afraid of the competition at all. All of the players knew before they came here that there would be competition, and Nic is very well aware of that, too. He has a real competitor's spirit to him. He has sprinter's speed, but he did not come here as an option quarterback. He is definitely a passer."
"Brandon is a big, strong, active run-blocker. (Assistant coach) Charlie Dickey saw him play during the state playoffs, an the more that we looked at what type of lineman we wanted here, he fit into that mold because he can run."
"Skyline High School in Oakland consistently turns out some terrific players. Kirk can play several positions. He is a bright learner, but the thing that we liked most about him is that he is a physical hitter."
"Sean comes from North Shore High School in Houston where we have a lot of players on our roster from. Sean is an all-purpose fullback. Our halfbacks, like Mike Bell, have to be every down runners, but our fullbacks are a little different. They get the chance to carry the ball, too, but they also contribute in a lot of areas, not just blocking, but catching passes and running routes."
"Landon is a big defensive back, who like some of the other guys, can play a lot of positions, but we think that he is going to be good at safety or as an outside (line)backer."
"Matt is a big defensive lineman who we think is going to play inside. He comes from a very good program in the San Jose area. He has a lot of athletic ability. When I was up there at his house, he has a batting cage in the backyard, and one of his brothers was just getting home from soccer practice."
"Pedro is a big, physical linebacker who is also an outstanding student. He is from Douglas, so he has been up here a lot and has gotten a chance to know me and the other coaches."
"One thing that says the most about Matt is that in his league, he was named co-MVP of the league. Now, I can't remember the last time that an interior lineman was named MVP of a league, a team maybe, but that just shows the kind of respect that other coaches had for him."
"His brother (Yusuf) played here and is not with the Arizona Cardinals. He is a little smaller than Mike Bell, but is very fast and has great moves. I would not say that Yusuf was instrumental in getting him here, but he came along and asked a lot of questions that helped his brother make a decision about Arizona."
"He is another very athletic fullback. When he plays basketball, I have seen him run some alley-oops, and his head is just about even with the rim when he jumps up there. When I was at his school, I was so impressed with the people who were so enthusiastic about his as a person.
"Robert is one of the best wide receivers in the state of Texas, comparable to some of them that have come out of there in the past. He comes in with great running ability, height and great hands. He has not played football very long, so he is somewhat unproven."
"Thomas is very similar to Brandon Hopkins in that he is a very good athlete. Coach Dickey evaluated him and like his toughness. He is a real scrapper who is going to play guard for us, maybe center."
"Bret will start as a linebacker, but is very versatile and could play fullback. He played at Issaquah Skyline High School which is where Scott Pelluer was at last year. He is the kind of football player that brings a lot of athletic ability."
"Another excellent all-around player. He is a defensive end who might move inside to tackle. He is tall and has very good hand movement. He has the natural movement to be able to slip tackles and get across the line of scrimmage and make things happen."
"Right now, he is averaging over 20 points per game and about 10 rebounds per game on his school's basketball team, so that shows the kind of athleticism this guy has. He has good genes, as one of his brothers played in the NFL."