unlv head coach marcus arroyo
Photo Courtesy: NevadaSportsNet.com

UNLV Adds Swag With Marcus Arroyo

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After a silent opening recruiting period in December, UNLV coaches went to work on the next generation of players catching 30 signees in a shocking show of recruiting magnificence for a program that has been subpar for many years.

 

However, the question is not how the Rebels accomplished this feat, but who is the man who engineered it? In 2019 Marcus Arroyo helped lead a #6 Oregon Ducks team to a PAC-12 championship, winning a Rose Bowl championship as the offensive coordinator. Little over a month later, the young but experienced coach left his position at Oregon to take up the mantle as UNLV’s next head football coach.

“He’s got a swagger about him,” said Joe Arrigo, Franchise Sports Media’s UNLV football insider, and a lead recruiting analyst about Coach Arroyo. Mr. Arrigo has been around the program since the early years that Tony Sanchez was in charge. Since the announcement, Joe has believed Coach Arroyo was the right guy for the job saying, “He’s got a vision and a plan for the program.”

December for the UNLV Athletic Department was defiantly a tumultuous time, both the head football coach and head basketball coach where let go. Vacancies needed to be filled immediately. For the Runnin’ Rebel’s basketball program, South Dakota State Head Coach T.J. Otzelberger was also the right fit.

 

However, the situation for the Rebel football program was an entirely different task altogether.

 

Although both teams were not playing to their potential, the expectation for the basketball team since legendary coach Jerry Tarkanian has been to win championships. For the football team, when long-time Bishop Gorman High School head coach Tony Sanchez was brought on as UNLV‘s lead man, the expectation was to ‘just get to a bowl game,’ a feat that could be done by just winning six games out of a 12 game season. But in five seasons as the head man, Sanchez could not achieve that goal.

Going 20-40 in five years, injuries, inconsistent play, and coaching led to the team coming up short of a bowl game appearance in each of the past three seasons. In response, the UNLV athletic department and Athletic Director Desiree Reed-Francois decided to go another route hiring a more experienced college coach to run the UNLV program.

UNLV Football Head Coach Marcus Arroyo
Photo Credit: UNLV Athletics

Their search ended with a 39-year-old Offensive Coordinator that had a long and impressive resume—coaching for San Jose ST., Oklahoma St., Cal, Wyoming, Southern Miss, Oregon, and even the Tampa Bay Buccaneers under Lovie Smith. Arroyo was more than qualified to take the job, but what separated him from all other contenders, was something that could only be seen in his first recruiting class.

“I have a Power-5 staff.” coach Arroyo said in the signing day conference, “We’re not afraid to go to bat for players.” Using previously established relationships, an attacking mentality, and a go-for-broke attitude coach Arroyo’s staff, even without utilizing the first signing period, found a way to put together a 30 prospect list that ranked #2 in the Mountain West and 77th nationally.

“We bet on ourselves that First signing period.” Coach Arroyo told reporters signing day. Their gamble paid diligence rounding up 22 3-Star players, which is a UNLV record for a single recruiting class, and five experienced transferee players, spearheaded by TCU Quarterback transfer Justin Rogers. Coach Arroyo’s 2020 recruiting class has pumped up many fans here in the valley.

With the Raiders starting their inaugural season in Las Vegas; the NFL draft coming to the Strip in April of 2022; the recent opening of the Fertitta Sports Complex—thanks to the efforts of coach Tony Sanchez, the Rebel football program needed somebody that can restore some pride and make the Rebel faithful excited to once again frequent the games.

Although spirits are high and expectations once again soaring for Rebel Football, questions remain about the program. In the past, many have felt the UNLV administration has not fully supported football on and off the field the same way other Power-5 schools.

 

Another issue that has to be resolved for the rookie head coach and his staff will be their on-field play.

Justin Rogers - Marcus Arroyo
Photo Credit: UNLV Athletics

 

Spring ball was canceled due to COVID-19 and many, boosters, administrators, and fans are eager to get a good first glance at the new look Rebel football team. With players like wide receiver Randal Grimes, star running back Charles Williams, who is coming off a record-setting 2019 season, and linebackers Ferrell Hester Jr. and Vic Viramontes, coupled additions like quarterback Justin Rogers, the Rebels will have a talented squad going into the 2020 season. Recruiting analyst Joe Arrigo said it best “I love everything Marcus Arroyo and his staff have done thus far, but he’d be the first tell you the same thing I am about to say, we gotta’ see it on the field.”

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-JaRon Turner – Franchise Sports Media

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