The Arizona Wildcats received an unexpected commitment on Wednesday evening, as 2018 receiver Joshua Szott tweeted his decision to join the program.
After speaking with Szott, he informed that he will be entering as a preferred walk-on, but a scholarship will be available for him in the spring, which gives Kevin Sumlin and his staff flexibility when it comes to the scholarship class distribution.
Szott hails from Princeton, New Jersey, playing for Hun High School. He caught 41 passes for 1,021 yards and 17 touchdowns as a senior, averaging just over 25 yards a catch for the fifth ranked team in the state.
The commitment came as a surprise, but Szott has known the staff for quite some time, and has two connections to Arizona that helped get him to Tucson.
The primary connection is between his father, Dave, a 14-year NFL veteran, and UA offensive coordinator/QB coach Noel Mazzone. They spent two years together with the New York Jets, Dave as the team chaplain and Mazzone as the receivers coach.
Dave was later promoted to the Director of Personal Development and still holds that role. Meanwhile, Mazzone has had stops with ASU, UCLA and Texas A&M since then.
“The Mazzone family, Taylor and Noel, were instrumental in my recruitment. I really felt a strong bond with them, they’re great people,” Joshua said of his relationship.
Dave and Mazzone had talked about opportunities to walk-on at A&M, which later culminated into Arizona once Mazzone followed Sumlin.
“When the staff got hired at Arizona, they started to reach out to me more and there was more concrete opportunity at Arizona than A&M,” Joshua added.
The relationship between Dave and Mazzone helped create the initial conversation, but it was the second connection that became a big swing factor to commit to Arizona.
The Szott’s are family friends with Robert Congel, Arizona’s newest offensive tackle who walked on at A&M and eventually followed Sumlin to Arizona as well.
“The Congel family just helped sway me to Tucson,” Joshua said.
Szott will now be flying out to Tucson on July 6 to join the program for summer activities. He said it’s a “dream opportunity to play for a Power Five school” and “a dream come true.”
As for how Szott fits in at Arizona, the receiving corps is filled with inexperience, and the depth chart is really unclear. While Szott is inexperienced himself, he posseses a lot of quality attributes you want a receiver.
He is 6-foot-3, 185 pounds, explosive off the line of scrimmage, creates separation, uses his hands well and gets up for a jump ball. He has some really good film out of high school, and it makes you wonder how he went undiscovered.
Arizona has a lot of options to fill the void at receiver, but Szott is a legitimate threat at wide receiver and might be one of the most well-polished receivers already. It comes down to how fast he can pick up the speed of the game, but he has a great shot at seeing the field in 2018.