A month and a half after he verbally committed to the Arizona Wildcats, Cameron Denson started having second thoughts.
It didn’t last long.
“I just called the coaches up, they told me what I wanted to hear basically and said, ‘Just think about why you committed in the first place,’ ” the Salpointe Catholic High School star said this week. “I thought about all the reasons, and it just felt like the right place, and I kept it closed.
“Some rumors started after that, but I stayed true to the UA.”
And that was the extent of the drama surrounding Denson’s recruitment. The Lancers’ wide receiver expects to sign a national letter of intent with the UA today. He and the rest of the Wildcats’ 2014 recruiting class will be unveiled at a 2 p.m. news conference in the Lowell-Stevens Football Facility.
The most talented recruiting class of Rich Rodriguez’s time in Tucson is headlined by the first two players to commit.
Denson pledged to the UA on Jan. 12, 2013, and became the first member of Arizona’s 2014 recruiting class.
The UA received its second verbal commitment in mid-March, when Fresno, Calif., running back Nick Wilson picked the Cats.
In Denson and Wilson, Rodriguez had locked down two four-star recruits 11 months before signing day.
The duo never took any other visits after committing, even as the players’ lists of suitors grew.
Alabama, Oklahoma and UCLA all expressed interest in Denson, but he effectively shut down his recruitment after his phone conversation with the UA’s coaches.
Wilson committed to Arizona over offers from Arizona State, Arkansas, Tennessee, UCLA, Washington, Wisconsin and others.
“I took a lot of unofficial visits before I committed, and there just wasn’t anything that stood out to me other than Arizona,” Wilson said. “Once I say I’m committed, I like to think I’m a loyal person. I usually stick with what I say. After I committed, I wasn’t looking. I was still getting calls, but nothing else interested me.
“I knew Arizona was the place for me.”
Here’s a closer look at Denson and Wilson:
Where he’s ranked: The Scout.com recruiting service ranks Denson as the 71st-best overall prospect in the country and the 14th-best wide receiver. He’s rated as the fifth-best player in the state of Arizona. Rivals.com ranks Denson as the 34th-best wide receiver in the country and sixth-best prospect in Arizona.
High school stats: As a senior, Denson finished with 73 catches for 1,453 yards and 19 touchdowns. He added 31 tackles and seven interceptions as a cornerback.
The lowdown: Denson plans to make his commitment to the UA official today at a ceremony at Salpointe. Though he’s listed strictly as a wide receiver by various recruiting services, he said the UA coaches have talked to him about potentially playing some third-down cornerback and playing on both sides of the ball. He’s the highest-rated recruit in Arizona’s class, according to Scout, and is hoping to play as a true freshman.
In his own words: “The day I committed, it was just so relieving, and I didn’t have to worry about where I was going to go to college and didn’t have to do any more visits. I knew where I was going to go and started getting more comfortable with it. And it being home, it just made it that much easier.
“I tried to help recruit a few guys after I committed. They always asked me what I liked about (Arizona), and I always told them, ‘I’d rather make history here than repeat it someplace else.’ I like that kind of challenge.
“I can’t wait to sign the papers and send them on in. It’s going to be a good day.”
Height/weight: 5-11, 195
Where he’s ranked: Both Scout and Rivals rank Wilson as a four-star prospect. Scout rates Wilson as the 29th-best running back in the country; Rivals has him ranked 23rd and lists him as the 37th-best prospect in the state of California.
High school stats: Wilson missed a pair of games with a separated right shoulder, but he still managed to run for more than 1,300 yards and 12 touchdowns as a senior.
The lowdown: The running back has a similar frame as two-time UA All-American Ka’Deem Carey, and he said members of the Arizona staff joke around and call him “Ka’Deem Jr.”
Wilson has visited the UA campus four times, most recently last month with a handful of other Arizona commitments.
He posted a picture to his Twitter account of him wearing a No. 25 jersey like Carey but said he’s hoping to wear No. 2 for the Wildcats because, “I want to write my own legacy.”
In his own words: “I’ve been set on Arizona from the start. I’d get calls from other coaches asking me to take visits, and I’d tell them, ‘I’ll get back to you,’ but in my mind I knew I wouldn’t.
“Ka’Deem is most definitely one of the reasons I committed. I think our running styles are very similar.
“I’m built like him, and we run the same, so if he can thrive in that offense, why shouldn’t I?
“One of the main reasons I committed early was because I didn’t want to deal with all the extra pressure of doing interviews and going on visits and stuff. It was nice to go through my senior year and know where I was going. I gave Arizona my word, and I hung on with that. There was no pressure. I just focused on school.
“It’s very humbling to finally be signing with them. I can not wait until I sign and get it all started.”