Since the day he arrived at Arizona, Rich Rodriguez has talked about landing the best in-state talent and getting bigger bodies on his roster.
Check and check.
The Wildcats got a commitment from Scottsdale Chaparral High School product Keenan Walker on Saturday afternoon. The offensive tackle, listed at 6 feet 6 inches and 280 pounds, is ranked as a four-star prospect and the ninth-best offensive tackle in the country by the Scout.com recruiting service.
“I’ve wanted to pull the trigger since the first day they offered me,” Walker told the Star. “It felt right from the start, but I knew the smart thing was to make sure I was 100 percent committed to them and that it was the right move for me.”
The UA offered Walker after his sophomore season at Chaparral and they weren’t the only ones. He also had offers from Arizona State, Nebraska, Ohio State, Texas, Texas A&M, UCLA, USC, Washington and others.
He said it came down to Ohio State and Arizona.
“I went and visited Ohio State and it was loony out there,” Walker said. “I didn’t like it as much as Arizona. I felt comfortable from the first time I was on Arizona’s campus. I wanted to find the right fit and get my recruitment over with. I’m really happy with my decision.”
Walker committed during an unofficial visit to Tucson this weekend. Former Chaparral coach and current UA tight ends coach Charlie Ragle served as the lead recruiter for Walker. The tackle, who moved to Arizona from Indiana when he was in the eighth grade, never played for Ragle, but knew him and said he respected him.
The Wildcats currently have six players from Chaparral on their roster and have another coming in next year in tight end Trevor Wood.
Wood accompanied Walker on his visit Saturday.
“All the Chaparral guys being here definitely helps,” Walker said. “It just makes you feel more comfortable. Trevor is one of my really good friends and he’s been working to get me here.”
Walker also said Rodriguez played a big role in his recruitment and was excited to get his pledge Saturday.
“He was a pretty big deal in this process,” Walker said of Rodriguez. “He showed he was dedicated to getting me down here and I really appreciated that.”
Walker is the fifth member of the 2015 recruiting class to commit to the UA and the first offensive lineman. The Chaparral product is the third in-state prospect to commit to the UA, joining Mesa Desert Ridge running back Taren Morrison and Gilbert Campo Verde defensive tackle Finton Connolly.
Walker is the first four-star recruit of the class. Morrison, Connolly and California high school products Ricky McCoy and Darick Holmes are all three-star recruits.
- Walker wasn’t the only unofficial visitor on the UA’s campus Saturday. Four-star quarterback recruit Brady White from Newhall, Calif., also visited. White is ranked as the eighth-best quarterback recruit in the country by Scout. He holds offers from Arizona State, Kentucky, Louisville, Nebraska, Penn State, Tennessee and others.