Arizona Wildcats coach Kevin Sumlin and his staff have reeled in their first potentially game-changing recruit.
Four-star prospect Grant Gunnell — the third-ranked pro-style quarterback in the country for the class of 2019 — announced Wednesday that he is committed to Arizona.
“This commitment should have Arizona fans fired up,” said Gabe Brooks, the Midlands Region recruiting analyst for 247Sports. “They have two other commitments from Texas. From a fan’s perspective, you’re looking for a big splash. This is the one that qualifies.”
Gunnell previously was committed to Texas A&M, where he formed a relationship with Sumlin and offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Noel Mazzone. Sumlin brought Mazzone, among others, with him to Tucson.
Gunnell, who plays at St. Pius X High School in Houston, de-committed from A&M on Feb. 13. He recently listed Arizona, Cal, Ohio State and UCLA as his finalists.
“It’s huge. The national perception (of Arizona) is definitely going to change,” said Greg Biggins, the national recruiting analyst for 247Sports. “This is a guy who had a ton of national offers. He’s a very well-known and well-respected kid by other recruits. He plays on one of the top 7-on-7 teams (KB3 Elite) in America. It’s definitely one of those deals where you could see him attracting other recruits, especially in the state of Texas.”
Gunnell, who’s listed at 6-6, 222 pounds, is 247Sports’ 97th-ranked overall prospect. Rivals ranks him 70th nationally.
Sumlin consistently landed highly-rated recruiting classes at A&M, and he was expected to significantly boost Arizona’s recruiting yield. Gunnell isn’t the first player to commit to the UA since Sumlin became coach, but the 2019 quarterback is by far the highest rated with the highest national profile.
“The quarterback position is always the one you look at the most,” Biggins said. “The quarterback makes or breaks your class. Getting a guy like Grant, who has such a big name and reputation, definitely validates (Sumlin) and the staff.”
If Gunnell keeps his commitment and attends Arizona, the Wildcats will be stocked at quarterback for years to come. Current starter and Heisman Trophy candidate Khalil Tate has two more years of eligibility. Incoming freshmen Kevin Doyle and Jamarye Joiner are set to join the team this summer.
Gunnell recently competed in the Elite 11 quarterback competition, although he did not advance to the next round.
Gunnell is on a record-setting pace at St. Pius X. Over the past two seasons, he has passed for 9,909 yards and 126 touchdowns. He has also rushed for 779 yards and 13 scores.
Gunnell visited Arizona in April and came away impressed with the university — especially the business school — and the city of Tucson.
Gunnell’s mother and aunt grew up in Scottsdale. His aunt, Jill Aycock, attended the UA and worked as a TV anchor here.
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