The Arizona Wildcats received a signing-day surprise this morning, when Scottsdale Chaparral defensive end Dylan Cozens — one of the state's top players — bucked offers from Boise State and Washington and verbally committed to the UA.

The recruiting service lists the 6-foot-5-inch, 235-pound Cozens as a three-star recruit. He was also weighing offers from Washington, Arizona State, Indiana, Missouri, UCLA and Utah. He registered 45 tackles and 7 ½ sacks as a senior at Chaparral, his only season of high school football. Cozens grew up playing baseball, and remains a major prospect: He's expected to play college baseball at the UA, too.

Cozens is the second Chaparral player to commit to the Wildcats' 2012 recruiting class. A third, star wide receiver Davonte Neal, is Arizona's top remaining target: He's not expected to pick his school until after visiting Arizona Feb. 10.

Former Chaparral coach Charlie Ragle is Arizona's new liaison to in-state football programs. Cozens told that he "wouldn't be here" if it wasn't for Ragle.

Cozens' commitment was welcome news on a day when another top UA target, Chandler Hamilton's Jaxon Hood, opted to sign with conference rival Arizona State. He was considering both in-state schools and Boston College.

The Wildcats are still awaiting word from Ontario (Calif.) Colony star Bryan Harper, a multi-position athlete who could fill any number of holes.

The UA, Arizona State, Colorado, Oregon, Oregon State, UCLA and Washington have all offered Harper scholarships as a wide receiver or cornerback. He also has experience as a dual-threat quarterback: Harper threw for 604 yards and four touchdowns and rushed for 397 yards and three touchdowns as a junior, but his season was cut short by a broken collarbone after just four games. He was fully healthy as a senior, and threw for 505 yards and four touchdowns and rushed for 647 yards and six scores.

Harper is expected to make his decision this afternoon.


The sports editor of the Arizona Daily Star.