Jeff Tuel's quest to become a college quarterback started in Tucson.
As a freshman for the Salpointe Catholic Lancers, Tuel took his first high school football snaps and began a journey he hoped would end at a major university.
Tuel, though, moved to Fresno, Calif., after his freshman year at Salpointe. He eventually reached his goal of playing major college football, throwing for nearly 6,000 yards and 35 touchdowns over four years at Washington State.
Now, Tuel is coming back to where it started.
The Cougars' signal-caller is one of 64 football players to commit to playing in the Casino Del Sol College All-Star Game at Kino Stadium on Jan. 11. Several more are expected to pledge in the coming weeks.
Tuel isn't the only player with a Tucson connection on the initial roster of names.
Three Arizona Wildcats are committed to the game so far, with others likely to follow.
Dominique Austin, Kyle Quinn and Taimi Tutogi have all signed on to play. Austin appeared in just six games this season because of a foot injury, but he was productive with 14 tackles and two pass breakups.
Quinn was the starting center for the Wildcats and one of two seniors anchoring the offensive line.
Tutogi, listed as a defensive end on the preliminary All-Star roster, played that position and fullback this year for the Wildcats. He had five tackles and a sack in 2012.
Here's a closer look at three other players without Tucson ties to watch on Jan. 11.
Kenny Cain, TCU
• Position: Linebacker
• By the numbers: Cain led TCU with 74 tackles in the regular season and added 5 1/2 tackles for a loss and two interceptions.
• Credentials: He was voted first-team All-Big 12 by The Associated Press and was second-team All-Mountain West in 2011 as a junior. He also led the team in tackles as a junior, despite missing two games with an injury.
• Fun fact: He was a high school teammate of former USC running back and current New York Jets running back Joe McKnight at John Curtis High in Louisiana. Cain won four straight state titles there.
• Draft prospects: Cain plays strongside linebacker for the Horned Frogs and has decent size at 6-1, 225. NFLdraftscout.com has him ranked as the 42nd best prospect at outside linebacker for the 2013 NFL Draft.
Mike Shanahan, Pittsburgh
• Position: Wide receiver
• By the numbers: Shanahan leads the Panthers with 926 receiving yards and five touchdowns with the BBVA Compass Bowl against Mississippi game left.
• Credentials: Shanahan is a big-play threat who averages 16 yards per catch. He's also dependable, starting the last 25 games in a row for Pittsburgh. He was named second-team All-Big East.
• Fun fact: He played AAU basketball with current Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Jon Baldwin. Shanahan - no relation to Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan - also had three uncles who played college basketball.
• Draft prospects: He's a big body (6-5, 225) with good hands and is rated as the 50th best receiver prospect by NFLdraftscout.com.
Darryl Stonum, Baylor
• Position: Wide receiver
• By the numbers: Stonum has 79 catches in his four-year career and seven touchdowns. He had just three catches for 51 yards and a touchdown this season.
• Credentials: He began his career at Michigan, playing his first three seasons there. Following a junior season where he caught 49 passes for current Arizona Wildcats coach Rich Rodriguez, Stonum was suspended for the 2011 season following a legal issue. He was then dismissed from the team after the '11 season.
• Fun fact: Stonum was part of Rodriguez's first recruiting class at Michigan and played as a true freshman. As a sophomore, he became the first player in Michigan history to gain 1,000 return yards in a season.
• Draft prospects: He's rated by NFLdraftscout.com as the 38th best wide receiver in the draft. However, after an unproductive senior season and off-the-field problems at Michigan, Stonum will have to prove he deserves a shot.
The first 64
The list of the first 64 players to commit to playing in the Casino Del Sol College All-Star Game on Jan. 11 at Kino Stadium.
Marvin Burdette, LB, UAB
Kyle Quinn, C, Arizona
Taima Tutogi, DE, Arizona
Dom Austin, DE, Arizona
Josh Hubner, P, Arizona State
Austin Holtz, OT, Ball State
Darryl Stonum, WR, Baylor
Tommy Smith, Jr., LB, Boise State
J.C. Percy, LB, Boise State
Chris Pantale, TE, Boston College
Braden Hansen, OG/C, BYU
Preston Hadley, CB, BYU
Brandon Ogletree, ILB, BYU
Deonte Williams, RB, Cal Poly
Aaron Tipoti, DT, California
Josh Hill, S, California
Isi Sofele, RB, California
Blake Williamson, TE, California (Pa.)
Camerron Cheatham, CB, Cincinnati
Joe Caprioglio, OT, Colorado State
Alex Dunnachie, P, Hawaii
Paipai Falemalu, DE, Hawaii
Brandon Hartson, LS, Houston
Steele Jantz, QB, Iowa State
Aaron Horne, WR, Iowa State
Joseph LeBeau, DE/LB, Jackson St.
Dayne Crist, QB, Kansas
Justin Tuggle, LB, Kansas State
O'Hara Fluellen, DB, Lincoln Univ.
Cordian Hagans, DE/DT, Louisiana
Myles White, WR, Louisiana Tech
Ray Holley, RB, Louisiana Tech
Mitchell White, CB, Michigan State
Troy Stoudermire, CB, Minnesota
Zach Minter, DT, Montana State
Keegan Wetzel, OLB, Navy
Travis Chappelear, DT, Northwest Missouri State
Andrew Seumalo, DT, Oregon State
Mike Farrell, OL, Penn State
Chris Jacobson, OG, Pittsburgh
Mike Shanahan, WR, Pittsburgh
Zach Brown, K, Portland State
Brandon Jones, CB, Rutgers
Brice Butler, WR, San Diego State
Travis Johnson, DE, San Jose State
David Quessenberry, OT, San Jose St.
Bryan Collins, OG, SMU
Drew Terrell, WR, Stanford
Kenny Cain, LB, TCU
Kevin McDermott, OT, UCLA
Dalton Hilliard, S, UCLA
Tevita Stevens, C, Utah
David Rolf, TE, Utah
Matt Austin, WR, Utah State
Bojay Filimoeatu, OLB, Utah State
Al Lapuaho, DT, Utah State
Kellen Bartlett, TE/FB, Utah State
Jeff Tuel, QB, Washington State
Wade Jacobson, OG, Washington St.
Ryan Clarke, FB, West Virginia
Roszell Gayden, OT, Winona State
Rayon Simmons, RB, Winona State
Kyle Magnuson, OLB, Wyoming