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Fisch: UA football recruiting targeted long-term transfers, QB depth

Arizona Wildcats head coach Jedd Fisch finds himself just more than a month into recruiting for his new program.

After Wednesday’s national signing day, the results look lackluster in terms of recruiting board rankings — Arizona sits 77th in the country, per 247 Sports. Still, the Wildcats felt they succeeded in their messaging by selling the program and clarifying what systems were in place to help players succeed.

Fisch said Thursday on a Zoom call that he wanted to build quarterback depth and hit the transfer portal hard, where the Wildcats focused on non-grad transfers.

“We didn’t want to build our team on (grad transfers),” Fisch said. “We didn’t want to sit there and say we’re going to have to redo this again a year from now.”

All-in-all, Arizona pulled in nine transfers. Two of those players who have officially sent their letters of intent are quarterbacks: South Florida transfer Jordan McCloud and former Washington State signal caller Gunner Cruz.

“Big kid, Gunner Cruz, can sling it around well,” Fisch said of the 6-foot-5 quarterback who has four years of eligibility. “Does have some really good physical skillset.

“You watch (McCloud’s) last game against Central Florida, he completed (69%) of his passes, he threw for over 400 yards, threw for four touchdowns against a good UCF team, you can see a lot of his skill.”

Oregon State transfer Nick Moore is also part of the class, and they join returning QB Will Plummer to fill out the depth left by departed transfers Grant Gunnell and Rhett Rodriguez.

Cruz also represents the Wildcats’ early priority to tap into the state of Arizona. Fisch said his staff searched for kids who wanted to come back to the West Coast.

Of the nine transfers, Cruz, running back Drake Anderson (Chandler), safety Gunner Maldonado (Chandler) and pass-rusher Jason Harris (Higley) played their high school ball in Arizona.