Former Chaparral coach Charlie Ragle’s presence paying off in Tucson
The Charlie Ragle era at Arizona did not get off to a roaring start.
When the former Chaparral football coach was hired by Rich Rodriguez as assistant director of football operations in December of 2011, there was hope he would lure prominent Firebirds down south with him.
It didn’t work out initially, as star wide receiver Davonte Neal went to Notre Dame, star quarterback Connor Brewer stuck with his commitment to Texas and defensive end Dylan Cozens chose professional baseball.
Two years later, though, Ragle’s presence seems to be paying off.
Neal played sparingly as a true freshman with the Fighting Irish and then transferred to Arizona this spring. Although he isn’t expected to be eligible this year, Neal, a dynamic athlete, could play a big role in the offense in subsequent seasons.
On Tuesday night, Brewer followed suit, transferring from the Longhorns to Arizona. Even though the Wildcats’ offense doesn’t seem to be a perfect fit for his skill-set, his ties to the school helped push him that way.
It hasn’t ended there, as current Chaparral tight end Trevor Wood turned down a scholarship offer from Alabama to verbally commit to Arizona over the weekend. Wood has deep family connections to the program and may have gone there either way, but Ragle’s presence couldn’t have hurt.
Even though it took longer than expected, Ragle’s hire has paid off in recruiting, and since his close friend Dave Huffine is the coach at Chaparral, the relationship figures to be a fruitful one for the Wildcats in the foreseeable future.
More importantly, though, will be how well Ragle does with the non-Chaparral contingent in the East Valley. Now that he’s been promoted to tight ends coach, Ragle has the ability to recruit prospects, and the East Valley is his stomping ground.
Chandler linebacker J.R. Hunt verbally committed to Arizona on the same day as Wood, and Mountain Pointe offensive lineman Natrell Curtis is showing serious interest as well.
Unlike in other areas of the country, the in-state universities have never made huge inroads with Arizona kids. Ragle is only a year and a half removed from winning a third consecutive state title at Chaparral, and his name is well known in local football circles.
It will be interesting to see if Ragle’s local ties are a boon for Arizona, or if the momentum will slow as the years pass and he gets further away from being a local high school coach.