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Solomon Hutchings joins another talented recruiting class for the Wildcats. 

Aug 29- Arizona announced their 2019 recruiting class today, with a decorated group of student athletes from around the world choosing to continue their academic and athletic careers in Tucson. This year's class is particularly diverse, with six countries making up the 18-player group.


The Wildcats' emphasis on their development up front has paid dividends, with a decorated group of tight five forwards having joined the program this month. The group is headlined by two players who have represented their countries in USA Under-18 Prop Raymond Weiner and 6'6" 240 pound Hong Kong Under-20 Lock James Rivers. Joining them are Props Tyson Spisich (AUS) and Harry Bluck (WAL), along with standout Lamorinda Hooker Zach Barker (CA). "Technically strong, physically pretty imposing group of guys that we think are going to do well for us. Guys like Ray and James have represented their countries and we hope to keep them in the frame to continue doing so" said Director of Rugby Sean Duffy. 


Arizona has had great success in developing play-makers in their history, with Scrumhalf Matt Rogers finishing second in national player of the year voting and Flyhalf Robert Figley earning 3rd Team All American honors this past season. Hoping to continue this success, the Wildcats have reached far for halfback help, signing four Scrumhalves. Ethan Russell comes to the Wildcats after competing the past two seasons for Sydney University (AUS) in one of the best competitions in the world, while Maxime Cathala joins the team from Toulouse Academy (FRA). In addition, Eltham College (UK) standout Brendon Paulsen and Arizona state champion PJ Coco join the side, giving the team multiple options in both Fifteens and Sevens. "All four guys have come in and already been highly coachable and motivated. You can tell they all are committed to taking the next step and they want to be here. That's important to us."


A number of talented back rows join the Wildcats this cycle, with Flanker Alex Cortessis and Number Eight King Matu joining their Lamorinda (CA) teammate Barker in Tucson. A bit of history will be made this Fall as Number Eight Monre Meyer comes to Arizona as the first Wildcat from the nation of Namibia, while Openside Flanker Kalet Ponce De Leon comes to Tucson after captaining powerhouse Penn HS (IN) in this year's national championships. "Placed a great emphasis on character and commitment in the back row. We hit on a few really great signings last year like Jack McCrossin and Charlie Green, and these guys are similarly high achieving, highly committed guys that will do well on and off the field."


Over the past five seasons, talented runners such as Kyle Rogers, Dante Weeks, Ryan Hudson, and Lucas Bartzis have put College Rugby on notice and the Wildcats hope to have signed a few more this cycle, with West Point transfer Jayden Demmy and Clifton College and Bristol Academy (UK) standout Solomon Hutchings joining the program. In addition, outside backs Payton Millet (WA) and Jacob Jowdy (TX) bring pace while Will McCausland brings vast experience in both Fifteens and Sevens having competed for the famed touring side Atlantis. "It's a rich history of talent in the backs here, with guys like Chris Kron, Ryan Matyas, and Peter Tiberio just a few of the names from the past, and we've aimed to carry that on with guys like Rogers, Weeks, Hudson, and others. This is a group I'm really excited about, with a couple names that I felt were under the radar that won't be for much longer." said Duffy. 

The 2019 recruiting class joins the most academically prepared class of Wildcats in university history, with 41% of new Freshmen graduating in the top 10% of their class and nearly 150 countries represented. The university also broke records in freshman applications, with nearly 40,000 from around the globe in this year's cycle. The Wildcats will soon announce this year's walk ons, with a number of players joining the program in addition to those listed below. Arizona's regular season schedule is set to be announced shortly, with an exciting cast of 2020 opponents lined up for the Wildcats' 51st season including an international tour.

2019 Recruiting Class

-Barker, Zach- Hooker- Lamorinda (CA)

-Bluck, Harry- Prop- Malvern College (WAL)

-Cathala, Maxime- Scrumhalf- US Montaubaun (FRA)

-Coco, PJ- Scrumhalf- Cienega HS (AZ)

-Cortessis, Alex- Flanker- Lamorinda (CA)

-Demmy, Jayden- Center- US Military Academy West Point (NY)

-Hutchings, Solomon- Center- Clifton College (UK)

-Jowdy, Jacob- Fullback- Dallas Jesuit (TX)

-Matu, King- Number Eight- Lamorinda (CA)

-McCausland, Will- Wing- Downingtown (PA)

-Meyer, Monre- Number Eight- Windhoek Gymnasium School (NAM)

-Millet, Payton- Wing- Prarie HS (WA)

-Paulsen, Brendon- Scrumhalf- Eltham College (UK)

-Ponce De Leon, Kalet- Flanker- Penn HS (IN)

-Rivers, James- Lock- Clifton College (UK)

-Russell, Ethan- Scrumhalf- Sydney University (AUS)

-Spisich, Tyson- Prop- The Southport School (AUS)

-Weiner, Raymond- Prop- Aspetuck Valley (CT)

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