The Arizona Wildcats landed a commitment from Washington State transfer quarterback Gunner Cruz on Saturday. It is a homecoming for the redshirt freshman, who attended Casteel High School in Queen Creek, Arizona before landing in Pullman as a 2018 recruit.
Coming Home #ItsPersonal ⬇️ ️ @CoachJimmieD @ScottieGraham pic.twitter.com/VRgDpHG6OW— Gunner Cruz (@GunnerCruz) January 23, 2021
The 6-foot-5 quarterback redshirted in 2019 under Mike Leach, then appeared in one game in 2020 under new head coach Nick Rolovich, completing five of seven passes for 34 yards and a touchdown in WSU’s blowout loss to USC in December. Cruz competed to be WSU’s starting QB but lost that battle to freshman Jayden de Laura.
Coming out of high school, Cruz was the No. 28 pro-style quarterback in the country and No. 16 player in Arizona, per 247Sports composite rankings. Aside from WSU, he also had offers from Arizona State, Baylor, Cincinnati, Syracuse and a bunch of Group of 5 schools.
At Casteel High School, Cruz completed 73 percent of his passes for 9,383 yards, 100 touchdowns and just 16 interceptions. He was also on the Arizona All-Academic First Team as a sophomore, junior and senior.
“Athletically gifted, Cruz has a big arm and has good running ability for his size,” wrote Barry Bolton of CougFan.com. “One thing he needed to work on was to let his instincts and athleticism shine, rather than over-analyze pre-snap and in-play reads. But his best throws were the deep balls — he regularly in practice put the ball on the receivers’ play side on seam routes, post routes, etc.”
The Wildcats and new head coach Jedd Fisch needed a quarterback after three-star QB Clay Millen decommitted and Grant Gunnell (Memphis) and Rhett Rodriguez (Louisiana Monroe) transferred following Arizona’s firing of Kevin Sumlin.
It is unclear when Cruz will be eligible at Arizona, but if he is immediately eligible, he will compete with Will Plummer and Kevin Doyle Jr. for the starting QB job.
Here are Cruz’s senior season highlights at Casteel: