It remains to be seen whether the Arizona Wildcats will land Scottsdale Chaparral High School star Davonte Neal, the state's top football recruit.
But at the very least, he'll feel at home when he visits Tucson Feb. 10.
Chaparral linebacker Cody Ippolito verbally committed to the UA today, giving the Wildcats five in-state prospects in their 2012 recruiting class with two days left before national letter-of-intent day. Ippolito is Neal's best friend; the two players' former high school coach, Charlie Ragle, is Arizona's new liaison to in-state high schools.
The Ragle connection "definitely had a big role," Ippolito told the Star today.
"I've been with him all four years of my high school career," he said. "We have a really good connection. If I need something on a personal level or on a business level, I can go to him."
Ippolito hedged when asked if his commitment will help the Wildcats land Neal, who's also considering Arkansas, Ohio State and Notre Dame. Neal will wait until after signing day to make up his mind.
"Me and him, we're basically brothers and we want to go to the same college together," Ippolito said. "But he has to do what's best for him, and I have to do what's best for me. We both have to do what's best for our lives. Whatever he chooses, I'm going to have to back him 100 percent.
"We're going to be in contact with each other, even if it's across the country or if it's in-state. Who knows where he goes?"
The Scout.com recruiting process lists the 6-foot, 210-pound Ippolito as a two-star recruit and the nation's 87th-best linebacker. Ippolito registered 109 tackles and two sacks for the state champion Firebirds as a senior.
He chose Arizona over an offer from Northern Illinois, though Arizona State, Iowa State, Kansas State, Utah and Washington were all reportedly interested. He took an official visit to Salt Lake City earlier this month.
The Arizona Wildcats' final recruiting push got a kick-start late Sunday night, when cornerback Jamar Allah — a two-star recruit from Phoenix's North Canyon High School — flipped his verbal commitment from Arizona State to the UA, according to Scout.com
He'll sign a national letter-of-intent with the Wildcats on Wednesday.
Allah was solid as a senior, registering 34 tackles and intercepting one pass for a Rattlers team that went 6-5. The 6-foot-1-inch, 190-pound Allah chose Arizona over offers from ASU, Colorado, Montana, Utah State and Wyoming. He visited Laramie, Wyo., last weekend before choosing the Wildcats.