Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
2001 Arizona Football Recruiting Class
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: February 07, 2001
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Mike Bell
6-1, 205, Freshman
Phoenix, Ariz. - Tolleson High School
Prep Coach: Dan Widmaier
Bell, one of the West's most highly regarded tailbacks, is a Parade Magazine, PrepStar Dream Team, and SuperPrep All-American who should help solidify Arizona's running game for years to come. He received nine votes in the 10-member Best in the West coaches panel by the Long Beach Press-Telegram. He was a top back in the Tacoma News-Tribune Western 100. The unanimous state player of the year by the Arizona Republic and Phoenix Metro Football, Bell rushed for 2,484 yards as a senior, averaging 8.7 yards per carry, and became the second player in state history to rush for 2,000 yards in consecutive seasons - he had 2,038 and 22 touchdowns as a junior. In 12 games in 2000, the speedy yet powerful back crossed the goal line 35 times. His career rushing total is 4,692 yards and also stands as the No. 2 figure in state history. Most Pac-10 schools and some Midwest powers recruited Bell heavily. His presence should help give UA one of the most talented backfields in the league. Coach Dan Widmaier of THS says Bell is an explosive runner. "He really runs through the hole. It's kind of weird - he learns as he runs… he finds a hole and flies through it. He makes it look easy. We threw the ball to him, we handed him the ball to him, he was 50 percent of our offense. He's durable and likes the weight room. Every school in the country wanted him," Widmaier said.
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Brad Brittain
6-5, 261, Freshman
Tight End
Encinitas, Calif. - Torrey Pines High School
Prep Coach: Ed Burke
Brittain also played defensive line for his high school coach, Ed Burke of Torrey Pines High School in San Diego, but Burke says he's a natural on offense. "Some teams want a fast tight end who can fly. Some teams like guys who will mix it up. Brad's a big run blocker who can catch the ball. He's a tough player who likes to hit you - he's kind of nasty that way. He'll beat up on you all night and just keep doing it. We didn't get him the ball much last season, but he can catch it - he has outstanding hands," Burke said. Brittain, who competes in track as a weights thrower, made the Long Beach Press-Telegram's Best in the West team with seven of 10 votes, is an All-America selection by PrepStar as the No. 7 tight end prospect in the West and rated the No. 17 best tight end nationally by
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Darrell Brooks
6-3, 190, Freshman
Defensive Back
Moreno Valley, Calif. - Moreno Valley High School
Prep Coach: Will Martin
Brooks started at free safety and wide receiver in high school, and Arizona will likely look at him initially as a free or strong safety. Brooks led Moreno Valley High with 109 tackles and seven interceptions, while catching 33 passes for 511 yards and eight touchdowns. During his career he had 12 interceptions and broke up 30 other passes. He earned PrepStar all-region honors and was a highly recruited player-student with interest from the service academies among other strong academic institutions. rated him an honorable mention all-region player. Moreno Valley coach Will Martin says Brooks' perseverance is his best trait. "He's above a 3.5 and a good student, but he's always trying to get better whether it's in the classroom or on the field. Athletically he's very competitive, has size and can jump. He'll work so hard in the weight room (at UA) that he'll put all his skills into one very nice package for that defense," Martin says.
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Nic Costa
5-11, 190, Freshman
Aloha, Ore. - Aloha High School
Prep Coach: Rob Casteel
Costa is highly regarded and is as an All-America selection by SuperPrep, PrepStar and Prep Football Report, the latter of which tabbed him the West's No. 5 quarterback prospect. He was selected to the Tacoma News Tribune Western 100, received six votes in the Press-Telegram's Best in the West poll to earn second-team honors and is the No. 10 QB nationally by He was one of three heavily recruited QBs to come out of the Oregon prep ranks this year. He's a player with great speed and his high school coach, Rob Casteel, says it's something he uses to bring his powerful arm into play. "He's a mobile type, but not in an option sense," Casteel said. "He's a good scrambler but is a passer who can get himself some time to throw the ball. He has great field vision. Some of the college coaches in the Pac-10 compared him to (former UA quarterback) Keith Smith." Costa attended the prestigious Elite 11 camp in Southern California last summer and was tutored there by Drew Brees and Marques Tuiasosopo, among others. He's one of Arizona's all-time high-profile quarterback recruits.
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Brandon Hopkins
6-6, 275, Freshman
Offensive Lineman
Mesa, Ariz. - Westwood High School
Prep Coach: Roger Suchomel
A strong and active run blocker with quick feet and excellent growth potential, Hopkins is one of UA's three Arizonans recruited and was a first-team all-state pick playing strong-side tackle on Westwood's 5-A state runner-up team last fall. Tom Lemming's Prep Football Report named him the No. 64 prospect in the west for all-region honors and he was a PrepStar All-America selection, rated the No. 14 offensive lineman in the West. rated him No. 90 among national linemen and an all-region honorable mention selection. Coach Roger Suchomel says "Brandon is as strong as an ox, and a guy with a superior work ethic. He's done a great job for us and was a three-year starter. We're all excited about the opportunity for him at the U of A. We challenge our kids every day at Westwood and Brandon knows what he has to do. He should be working harder than anyone else at Westwood this spring because he throws the discus pretty well, too," Suchomel said.
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Kirk Johnson
6-1, 185, Freshman
Defensive Back
Oakland, Calif. - Skyline High School
Prep Coach: John Beam
Johnson comes to Arizona from a high school program that annually sends a half-dozen players into Division I football, more than any program in the area. He brings the same immediate characteristic of each of the Wildcats' three defensive back recruits - size. Johnson was selected to the Tacoma News-Tribune Western 100 and rated an all-region selection by Johnson earned that organization's nod as the No. 18 safety in the class of 2001. He's a two-time all-city selection and all-East Bay this past year playing outside linebacker for coach John Beam. He recorded 16 sacks on the year and scored three defensive touchdowns in one game with two interception returns and a fumble return. Beam says "Kirk is a human being who can run and hit. He played on the edge for us but will make a fine defensive back at the next level. The fact he was able to get into a school like the University of Arizona attests to his work in the classroom," Beam said.
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Sean Jones
6-1, 210, Freshman
Houston, Texas - North Shore High School
Prep Coach: David Aymond
Jones and fellow signees Matt Page, Gainus Scott and Robert Spells continue Arizona's foray in recent years into the Texas recruiting grounds for outstanding talent, notably on the line and at the skill positions. He earned all-region honors from and was rated No. 18 at his position by that group. He earned all-district honors in gaining 283 yards rushing at a 9.3-yards per carry pace. Coach David Aymond of North Shore High School says Jones was the best talent at fullback in the Houston area. "His forte is to run the ball with speed and some moves, but he is an excellent blocker and can catch the ball, too. He's a good athlete for the position, where many players are considered glorified guards. The competition in the greater Houston area is as good as there is anywhere in the country and he is the best fullback around here," Aymond said.
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Landon Kafentzis
6-1, 195, Freshman
Defensive Back
Richland, Wash. - Richland High School
Prep Coach: Lonnie Pierson
Kafentzis was one of Arizona's earliest commitments, committing in November. His father, Mark, played for then Hawaii coach Dick Tomey in the early 1980s (and later in the NFL), and Kafentzis made his commitment in part because of that connection. But UA coach John Mackovic assured Landon that the aggressive DB fit into Arizona's plans. A powerful figure at safety for a 1999 state championship team, Kafentzis' athletic ability also has seen him play quarterback, fullback and wide receiver, plus basketball and baseball. He's an outstanding student and one of the state's highly regarded recruits. He was the first freshman to play varsity at Richland High, according to coach Lonnie Pierson. "His claim to fame is that he plays so physically. He will absolutely take your head off. There has never been a kid in this league that has dominated for four straight years," Pierson said. Kafentzis, a two-time all-state 4A pick, earned PrepStar and Prep Football Report all-region honors and was a Dirty Dozen selection in the Tri-Cities area. He was selected to the Tacoma News-Tribune Western 100. His brothers Kent, Kurt, Kyle and Sean also played football at Hawaii.
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Matt Lam
6-4, 270, Freshman
Defensive Line
San Jose, Calif. - Valley Christian High School
Prep Coach: Mike Machado
Lam and Isaac Watts were the only defensive linemen signed by Arizona this year. Lam played defensive tackle for coach Mike Machado and earned Blossom Valley Athletic league most valuable defensive lineman as a senior. Also was a first-team All-Central Coast pick. He completed his senior year with 73 tackles and nine sacks. Lam was active in working with underprivileged youth and causes for the homeless. VCHS coach Mike Machado says Lam's athletic skill at his size made him a strong player. "Matt is an impact player on defense who uses his size and quickness, and he's a tough guy for offenses to handle. Most teams used two guys to block him and even then they were unsuccessful. He is very explosive off the ball gets through the line of scrimmage quickly. His ability really hindered some blocking schemes," Machado said.
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Pedro Limon
6-2, 230, Freshman
Douglas, Ariz. - Douglas High School
Prep Coach: Abe Grijalva
Limon is one of Arizona's first recruits out of the Douglas area in decades, a quick athlete with size. His performance in 2000 earned him all-state and all-conference honors for 136 tackles, two interceptions and five sacks among 36 tackles for loss. PrepStar awarded him All-America honors as the West's No. 12 linebacker prospect, and he is an All-West pick by Prep Football Report. He is an outstanding student, a National Honor Society member and ranks in the top six percent in his class. He also played offense for the Bulldogs of DHS, rushing for 500 yards as a big back. Pedro and his coach, Abe Grijalva, have seen Arizona work in fall camp at Cochise Community College for years and know the Wildcat program well. "Pedro has been a pleasure to coach. From the first day that he joined our program he has asked what it takes to be a Division I player. He had the right size and the heart, but then he took the right coursework and got stronger. His biggest asset is his ability to read (the offense) and the tenacity to go make the hit," Grijalva said.
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Matt Page

6-3, 300, Freshman
Offensive Line
Kingwood, Texas - Kingwood High School
Prep Coach: Ken Herring
Page prepped at Kingwood High in the surburban Houston area just north of Humble, where current UA tailback Leo Mills played. He earned honorable mention all-region honors and was considered a top offensive line prospect in the state. He said he was attracted to the transition under new coach John Mackovic and Arizona's recent heritage of bringing Texans to Southern Arizona. He committed fairly early, in December. He was a two-year starter at Kingwood High and likely will start his college career at guard. Page earned all-distric honors and was co-MVP of his district. Second-team All Greater Houston award. "We think a lot of him," said Kingwood coach Ken Herring. "He's a fine kid, a team player and a hard worker. He has a lot of potential to be a great player, and likely will be a guard or center at Arizona. When you meet him, you'll discover a real gentleman, too. He was a two-year starter and an all-district pick by the coaches. He's a strong kid who throws the shot put."
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Gainus Scott
5-10, 185, Freshman
La Porte, Texas - La Porte High School
Prep Coach: Forrest Weigand
Scott's older brother, Yusuf, was a Wildcat All-American in 1998 as an offensive guard and one of UA's linemen of recent years to make it in the NFL. The younger Scott is a different breed of player than the pancake specialist Yusuf was - he's a fleet-footed back who figures to factor as a tailback in Tucson. He started as a cornerback then switched at mid-season in his sophomore year at La Porte. He rushed for more than 3,500 yards in his career and earned all-Texas honors his senior year. His darting style complements the big backs signed with the class and the letterwinners currently on the Wildcats' roster. He's a PrepStar All-American, rated as the No. 7 Midlands running back, and was all-Southwest by Prep Football Report. He also made the Houston Chronicle's Texas 100 list as well as the Dallas Morning News' Top 100 and was a two-time all-district pick by Texas coaches. La Porte coach Forrest Weigand says Scott's speed is the real deal. "He's got all the moves and cuts of a tailback, but the thing that makes Gainus outstanding is his speed. He's a legit 4.3. Nobody caught him around here. Another thing, in a year or so he's going to weigh 205 or 210 and that's a great size for a guy who can run. Every college has been here to recruit Gainus. And he's done great work in the classroom, too. One thing for sure - I'm going to miss him. He made my job a whole lot easier," Weigand said.
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Antoine Singfield
6-1, 234, Freshman
Moreno Valley, Calif. - Rancho Verde High School
Prep Coach: Scott Strosnider
Colleges recruited Singfield as a running back, wide receiver, linebacker and strong safety, but Arizona will likely give him its strongest look at fullback to open his freshman season. He was an all-area and all-conference player on defense for Rancho Verde High School and is a quality athlete who earned four votes in the Best in the West ratings by the Long Beach Press-Telegram. PrepStar named him to its all-West team, as did Prep Football Report. Singfield rushed for 1,300 yards and 15 touchdowns last year and is a starting forward on the RVHS basketball team. He has a vertical leap of more than 40 inches. He was the team's MVP. Coach Scott Strosnider says of Singfield, "He is a great young man, all around. He still has yet to reach his athletic potential so I think you'll see the best of him at Arizona." Singfield has lived in Arizona previously and was attracted to the state and by UA's football team graduation rate.
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Robert Spells
6-3, 185, Freshman
Wide Receiver
Abilene, Texas - Abilene High School
Prep Coach: Steve Warren
Spells is the second wide receiver from Texas that Arizona has landed since it pulled two-year starter Troy Dickey of Houston from the Kansas juco ranks for the 1992-93 seasons. Lance Relford of the 1999 class was most recent. He joins a solid corps of Lone Star State players at the University of Arizona. He earned honorable mention all-region this past season, and told the organization that he committed to Arizona because of its acknowledged plans for more emphasis on the passing game. Spells was offered by Texas A&M and Baylor, among other institutions. Earned all-district and All-Big Country honors his senior year with 65 receptions for 1,009 yards and 16 touchdowns. He's also a state qualifier in track and was a member of the nation's fastest 4x400 prep relay team as a junior. Abilene coach Steve Warren says Spells is just emerging as a football player. "Robert is simply a great talent and he is extremely fast. He only has played football for a couple of years and I think his potential to be a great player is way out there. He has accomplished a lot in the short time he's been playing," Warren said.
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Thomas Stevens
6-3, 270, Freshman
Offensive Line
Los Angeles, Calif. - Banning High School
Prep Coach: Ed LaLau
An all-region honoree by PrepStar and, Stevens attracted attention at a Nike camp last year and said he signed with the University of Arizona because of the new coaching staff and the fact he wanted to play in the Pacific-10 Conference. Arizona coaches were attracted to Stevens' experience in one of the top programs and annual football powers in the Southland. Banning played in the CIF Championship this past year, beating rival Carson for the title. Arizona coaches are attracted to Stevens because of his toughness and quickness. Coaches project him as a guard or center. Stevens' coach, Ed LaLau, is a good friend of former UA quarterback George Malauulu, who's now a longshoreman in Long Beach. "Thomas is a tough kid. This is Banning High you're talking about, and that's talking about football wars," Malauulu said. LaLau echoed the sentiment. "Thomas is a tough individual who takes care of business in the trenches. He'll fit right into the Pac-10. Some things make sense, and Thomas at Arizona is one," LaLau said.
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Bret Stray
6-2, 215, Freshman
Issaquah, Wash. - Skyline High School
Prep Coach: Steve Gervais
Stray was coached the last two seasons by Arizona's new inside linebackers coach, Scott Pelluer. As a fullback he scored 20 touchdowns and as a linebacker he helped state champion Skyline High School average more than four takeaways during the playoffs. His father, Dennis, said his son was impressed with the new atmosphere surrounding Arizona football. "Coach Mackovic and the assistants are excited about the new program, as are the returning players and the recruits, and that appealed to Bret." Pelluer said he liked Stray's upside. "Bret is a diamond in the rough. He's going to have a significant impact. He's talented, hard-working, conscientious and going to make us a better football team. He averaged about 160 yards per game in the playoffs - and just put the team on his back on the way to a state championship at 13-0." Stray was the team's captain and an all-state running back, but UA will work with him on defense.
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Isaac Watts
6-2, 237, Freshman
Defensive End
Alameda, Calif. - Encinal High School
Prep Coach: Jack Schram
Watts is considered one the top three tight end prospects in the Bay Area, though many recruiters felt he projected as an H-back type in college play. With that position in question under John Mackovic's new offensive system, Watts will get an initial trial as an edge player on defense, because of his good size and quickness. He earned three varsity letters for coach Jack Schram and was an all-Alameda/Contra Costa League pick on both offense and defense (TE, DT, snapper) as a senior. He was voted his team's captain and most outstanding lineman along with team MVP honors. He also earned All-Alameda Newspaper Group honors. Encinal coach Schram says Watts' versatility is a plus. "Isaac is an outstanding player with a great work ethic. He not only played both offense and defense, but also played on special teams as our long snapper - he just never came off the field for us last season. He has outstanding abilities on both sides of the ball," Schram said.
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Carlos Williams
6-5, 250, Freshman
Tight End
Denver, Colo. - Montbello High School
Prep Coach: Louie Wright
Williams is one of the Cats' three recruits from states other than Arizona, California or Texas. He's to get initial work as a tight end for the Wildcats, but could also have a future as a lineman. He earned PrepStar all-region honors for the Midlands area and was a honorable mention selection. He attracted some attention at the Colorado Nike Camp and several other camps in the Midwest last summer and was recruited by Kansas State and Michigan State, among others. He played four years under coach Louie Wright and started the final three, playing tight end, guard and defensive end. He earned three-time all-city honors and was selected by the Denver Post as one of the state's top 15 players. He also earned a Post honor as scholar-athlete of the week during basketball season. Wright, a former Pro Bowl defensive back for the Denver Broncos, says "Carlos is an incredible player. He was our best athlete in terms of his physical play. He was a dominant player and we used him all over the field. He was the team's MVP week after week and and consistent from day one. He's a team leader and the type you wish you had more of on your team."
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