What we know and see of Jedd Fisch now, was all of the decrying really worth it?
Athletic Director Dave Heeke was scowled by the faithful. One year later, Fisch has the best recruiting class in the history of the program.
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At halftime of the Arizona-Michigan basketball game in Las Vegas at the beginning of the year, I got an as-a-matter-of-fact conversation with Arizona Athletic Director Dave Heeke. Very low-key, BS session about the athletic program amongst some other Wildcat things. He admitted he had some hard work ahead of him at the time. He hired nearly a half dozen head coaches in less than a year.
Well, there were the good and bad in the hiring process for Heeke. He hired Kevin Sumlin, who has done what no other University of Arizona football head coach has ever done, systematically destroying a football program for years. Dave has redemption in the sweetest form in his back pocket; doing something that no one said he could do, hiring the perfect man to fix it.
He nonchalantly and modestly nodded his head and said he was very happy with all of the new acquisitions. At that time of our chat, football recruiting season was in the middle peak season. Neither of us couldn’t say what the football recruiting class was going to look like.
A 1-10 2021 season, acquiring one of the worst football talent pools in decades in the Pac-12. I’m talking even the Oregon State 80’s and early 90s programs. Jedd Fisch owns the steering wheel of a Ford Pinto with bald tires. Now he is asked to turn it into a good looking10-year-old Ford Mustang in his very first year. That Pinto was generous.
What the head coach has now done is turn that old Mustang in, bringing in some new Porsche parts to build his world-class car.
Those parts are from a top 18 recruiting class in ‘his’ first very own recruiting class.
2022 is not here yet. There is an excitement to the season with lofty expectations that are realistically subdued. Fisch has the older fancy Ford that he trying to turn into the car all the girls love.
I have been privy to Fisch for several years. How he learned the game and his craft as a football coach has come from the best. I know that from experience. His personality is a good fit in Tucson, I knew has a business acumen that will be strong in community and campus relations from a marketing standpoint. His lineage does well with recruits even with the program's position.
All head coaching hires by Heeke in 2021 are great on paper and were all favorable to the faithful, except for Fisch. Alumni and the fan base were not happy. I will admit, I had my guy picked as the leader I wanted to see, and it wasn’t Jedd.
What player would not want to play for a coach that has motto’s like, ‘It’s Personal, or ‘Play Like A Pro.’ Hell, his biggest mentors, supporters, and colleagues are the game’s biggest names.
Rob Gronkowski was the last time Arizona football had a 5-Star recruit; 16 years ago.
Fisch is building a track record that many can see right now.
You cannot deny the amazing facts on what to love about Jedd Fisch and the job Dave Heeke is doing. Look at the pros and cons of the Arizona football question.
This is what Heeke and Fisch were facing:
Acquire a team that lost 70-7 to its in-state rival.
Acquire a team that had a 12-game losing streak.
Hiring a coach with no head coach experience.
Going 1-10 in the first year as head coach.
Playing four quarterbacks in the first season.
Alumni and fan base that did not want Jedd Fisch as head coach
And what are we looking at now after a disastrous season?
The best recruiting class in school history.
Top 18 recruiting class in the country.
Commitments from three 5-star recruits in one year.
Rob Gronkowski is the last five-star recruit, and that was 16 years ago.
Turned five and four-star recruits from committing to USC, Oregon, and UCLA.
Taken advantage of the transfer portal of players with outstanding performance at their prior school.
Jedd Fisch deserves a lot of credit for being as unwanted in Tucson as lighting a fire at Arizona football after hiring Rick Rodriquez. How much credit should Fisch get?
Dave Heeke gets 100% of it. He's the one that pulled the trigger to get the right man for the job.
Photo by Gettys Images