The 2019 recruiting class Arizona have put together is noticeably thin on local prospects, with Marana offensive lineman Jordan Morgan the only in-state player the Wildcats signed in December.
Coach Kevin Sumlin and his staff figure to be much more focused on landing Arizona-based recruits in 2020, and part of the process of making that happen includes potentially adding a standout Tucson athlete in the current class.
Mario Padilla, a two-way star for Salpointe Catholic High School, has been offered a preferred walk-on spot with the Arizona Wildcats in 2019.
Blessed to have a chance to play at my dream school.... THE University of Arizona. The Lord knows I’ve waited patiently for my turn. Words can’t describe the happiness and joy. Thank you @LancerFBcoach for grinding these out! And Thank you to @SCLancerNation ‼️‼️‼️ #BearDown pic.twitter.com/f8YXWCEKbt— Mario (@Mario7Padilla_) January 14, 2019
The 5-foot-8, 185-pound Padilla played running back, wide receiver and safety for Salpointe, where as a senior he had more than 1,200 all-purpose yards, scored 20 touchdowns and recorded three interceptions. In his three-year varsity career Padilla scored 60 TDs for the Lancers.
Padilla’s addition could help Arizona in its quest to land another Salpointe player: running back Bijan Robinson. He is the No. 3 prospect in the state in the 2020 class as well as the nation’s sixth-best running back prospect and No. 39 overall recruit.
Arizona is one of 15 FBS offers for Robinson, including Alabama, LSU, Michigan, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Texas and most Pac-12 schools.