Recruiting in college football is undoubtedly a marathon.
Arizona Wildcats coach Rich Rodriguez and his staff still have spring and summer practice, an entire season, possibly a bowl game and even some of an offseason before national signing day 2014 arrives.
But Rodriguez is making sure his team is in the lead after the first mile of the race.
The Wildcats landed a commitment from four-star running back Nick Wilson on Saturday morning. Wilson, out of Central High School in Fresno, Calif., is ranked No. 242 in the Scout.com recruiting service Top 300 and rated as the 24th-best running back in the country.
He's the third player to commit to the Wildcats for 2014 and second to be ranked in the top 300. Salpointe Catholic's Cameron Denson, who committed to the UA in January, checks in at No. 66.
Two out of three isn't bad especially when considering the UA had just two of its 25 commits in 2013 ranked on the Scout.com list.
Wilson, who took an unofficial visit to Arizona's campus last month for "Junior Day," said he chose the Wildcats over California, Washington and Boise State. Several other schools, including Arizona State, Arkansas, Oregon State and Tennessee were also expressing interest.
"I loved the city, the program, the staff and just Arizona as a whole," Wilson said Saturday. "I went out there with my mother and father, and I was very comfortable in Tucson. I think I will be able to fit into the offense very well."
Wilson rushed for 1,617 yards and 16 touchdowns as a junior. He led his squad to an 11-3 record and a spot in the sectional championship. He said he committed early because it was important for him to be able to focus on his senior season with a clear head.
"It's a really good feeling now that I'm not stressing about the recruiting process," Wilson said. "I have time to focus on my school work and football."
The Wildcats have been aggressive recruiting the running back spot under Rodriguez. Pierre Cormier and Zach Green, both 2013 prospects, signed with the Wildcats last month. Cormier is rated as a four-star recruit and is one of the two players ranked in the top 300. Green gained more attention as the season went on and is a solid three-star back.
Of course, the Wildcats also return Ka'Deem Carey, who led the nation in rushing last season - something that has helped the Wildcats land running backs.
"I think Arizona is on a rise, and I really like what they do on offense with the run game," Wilson said. "I met Ka'Deem Carey when I was out there, and I was just impressed with everything."
Contact reporter Daniel Berk at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-4330. On Twitter @DSBerk