WILDCATS SIGN SEVEN FORWARDS
Jacob Jaffe helped propel San Diego Mustangs to a strong run at last month's National Championships.
June 27- Arizona has announced the first wave of their 2023 recruiting class today, with seven forwards committing to the Wildcats.
Up front, the graduation of Zach Barker and Harry Bluck opens the door for two talented Hookers. Regis Jesuit co-captain Logan Able aims to build on his strong career in Colorado where he helped lead his side to three straight state championships and a run to this year’s national championships. London Irish Academy and Hampton School standout Henry Langrish gives the Wildcats another high-ceiling prospect, the latest in a long line of talent from the United Kingdom.
Another UK tight five talent will look to fill the shoes of outgoing captain James Rivers as Will Berney (Uppingham School) commits to the Wildcats. Like Rivers, the 6’4” Lock has also featured for Hong Kong age-grade system and looks to join the likes of Aidan Hendry, Joey Lewis, and others in a strong second row group.
With upcoming graduations, the back row was a point of emphasis in recruitment and four of the nation’s best have signed with the Wildcats. In Southern California, two hard-running back rowers make the short trek to Tucson in Aiden Kemp (St. Augustine’s HS) and Jacob Jaffe. Kemp recently completed another strong season, earning varsity player of the year as well as first team all-league in addition to captaining his side and competing with both Eagle Impact Rugby Academy and San Diego Legion Academy. Jaffe (Torrey Pines High School) recently wrapped up a big season of his own at club level, playing a key role in the San Diego Mustangs’ runner-up finish at national championships. In the search for the next great Wildcat, Arizona has reached all the way to Oklahoma to bring in one of the nation’s top prospects in Number Eight Logan Franke. The Bixby star is the first from the Sooner State in recent years and brings a decorated resume, including tours with Eagle Impact Rugby Academy and three state championships. Closer to home, Tempe Flanker Tanner DeMassa will continue his career with the Wildcats after helping the Junior Devils to a third straight state title and two runs to national championships.
“Every class has the chance to be great, and this one is no different. It’s a diverse group, not just in the forwards, and a group that we approached a little bit differently. In order to take the next step, we need to think differently and be clear about what we are looking for in order to build the best team in the country. We’re providing these young men with an opportunity, but we also should be thankful to them for believing in this mission, not just on field but off it. We're also appreciative of their coaches and families for supporting them. They're a part of this journey now too. I know I speak for the staff and our returners when I say how excited we are to have these athletes with us” said Director of Rugby Sean Duffy. 2023 also marks an important historical moment, with the program’s first Rugby scholarships now on offer. The program has also signed a strong group of backs to the side that will be announced soon.
The Wildcats have recently concluded a strong finish to the season, placing in the top ten in fifteens and top six in sevens while bringing back over 90% of their roster.