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Nathan Tilford to Arizona: Four-star running back signs with Wildcats

U of A’s top recruit is already in school

Nathan Tilford at 2016 Nike Football The Opening Regional Los Angeles.
Student Sports

When most people think about the top college football recruits, there’s usually one thing surrounding those players: drama.

But in Nathan Tilford’s case, that’s not the situation at all.

“There’s no need for all that hype, because what are you going to do when you have all that hype?” Tilford told the Daily Star in early January. “It comes down to you playing, and then you’re not the player everyone thought you were.”

Tilford, a four-star running back, and the 216th ranked player nationally according to the 247 Composite score, is already on campus in Tucson, enrolled, and taking classes, allowing him to participate in the Wildcats’ upcoming spring practices. He originally gave his verbal commitment to the Arizona staff way back in April of 2016.

In 2016, Tilford transferred to Colony HS in Ontario, CA for his final year of high school ball. In 12 games, he amassed 2,031 rushing yards and 601 receiving yards. Add to that 153 kick return and 92 punt return yards, and Tilford averaged 239.8 all-purpose yards per game in his senior season.

At 6-foot-2 and 190 pounds, Tilford will be the tallest player in a loaded Arizona Wildcats backfield by a good four inches. Arizona will presumably return its top three true running backs from last year in Nick Wilson, J.J. Taylor, and Zach Green, along with walk-on Branden Leon. Wilson and Taylor both suffered major injuries last year, while Green has always been leapfrogged on the depth chart throughout his college career despite solid performances in games.

You can probably expect Tilford to play his true freshman year, given the position and the attrition that usually occurs there. He obviously has the skills as well, and having an entire spring of practices under his belt certainly won’t hurt when August rolls around.