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Phoenix-area native, ex-Washington State QB Gunner Cruz transferring to Arizona
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Phoenix-area native, ex-Washington State QB Gunner Cruz transferring to Arizona

Washington State quarterback Gunner Cruz in action against Southern California during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Los Angeles, Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

Arizona has found a possible replacement for Grant Gunnell.

Former Washington State quarterback and Queen Creek native Gunner Cruz announced Saturday that he will be transferring to the UA.

The 6-foot-5-inch, 217-pound Cruz led Queen Creek High School to a perfect 14-0 record and a 2017 Class 3A state championship win over Pusch Ridge Christian. In three seasons, Cruz threw for 9,383 yards, 100 touchdowns and 16 interceptions while completing 73% of his passes.

Pusch Ridge's Blake Reilly eyes Casteel quarterback Gunner Cruz during the 3A state title game at Campo Verde High School, Nov. 25, 2017, in Gilbert.

Cruz signed with Washington State and Mike Leach's "Air Raid" offense in 2018, picking the Cougars over Arizona State, Baylor, Cincinnati, Syracuse, San Jose State and several Ivy League schools. Arizona didn't offer Cruz as a high schooler. Cruz didn't appear in any games as a Wazzu freshman, but played in one contest under new head coach Nick Rolovich this fall. He completed 5 of 7 passes for 34 yards and a touchdown against USC.

Cruz will become the third scholarship on the UA's roster, joining redshirt sophomore Kevin Doyle and freshman Will Plummer, who's also from the Phoenix area and played at Gilbert High School. The Wildcats are in search of a starting quarterback after Gunnell, the UA's No. 1 quarterback, transferred to Memphis.

The addition of Cruz is the latest example of first-year UA coach Jedd Fisch's plan to attract in-state products via the NCAA's transfer portal. The Wildcats have already added six transfers for their 2021 recruiting class: Cruz (Washington State), cornerback Isaiah Rutherford (Notre Dame), linebacker Jason Harris (Colorado), running back Drake Anderson (Northwestern), safety Gunner Maldonado (Northwestern) and offensive lineman Davis DiVall (Baylor). All but Rutherford, who hails from Sacramento, are Arizona natives.

Contact sports content producer Justin Spears at 573-4312 or jspears@tucson.com. On Twitter @justinesports


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Sports producer

Justin writes stories and produces digital content about UA football and basketball and high school football. A Tucson native, Justin graduated from the UA in 2017 and is the host of the Wildcast Podcast and a radio host on ESPN Tucson.

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