There is certainly nothing wrong with getting very-important-person devotion in the recruiting process.
For weeks, Mount Si quarterback Clay Millen had been told by University of Arizona football coaches, notably offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone, that the team would hold off going after any another signal caller in the 2021 class. That is how badly the Wildcats wanted him.
And on Thursday, Millen (6-3, 185) returned the love, giving the Wildcats a verbal pledge to play football in the Tucson desert. He announced his decision publicly Friday afternoon.
“They put all of their chips in for me,” Millen said. “And I felt like this was a secure place for me to be at.”
Millen burst on the scene in 2019 in his first season as Mount Si’s starter, throwing for 3,145 yards and 39 total touchdowns with one interception and a 71.1 percent completion percentage in leading the Wildcats to the Class 4A semifinals.
Millen, a four-star recruit, is ranked No. 11 in the state of Washington’s loaded class of 2021 prospects by 247Sports.com.
Arizona offered Millen in early October, right after Oregon (where brother, Cale, plays). Oregon State and Colorado were other Pac-12 programs that made a play for him – and national champion Louisiana State University also came on late.
But in the end, Millen struck a special bond with Mazzone, who is in his third season as Arizona’s playcaller under coach Kevin Sumlin. Mazzone has a reputation of developing pro-style quarterbacks for the NFL (Brett Hundley, Brock Osweiler, Philip Rivers, Josh Rosen).
“(Mazzone) has been recruiting me for a super long time, so I felt I built a connection with him – as well as Coach Sumlin and Coach (John) Maranelli, (team’s football analyst),” Millen said. “I wanted to play for him, in particular, because he’s had a lot of success with quarterbacks in the past.”
Also, Arizona’s version of the spread offense, which ranked third in the Pac-12 in passing yards per game last season (266.1 ypg), is nearly identical to what Mount Si runs with Millen.
The Millen family has been on a campus-visiting tour over the past week – first in Boulder, Colorado, and then down to Tucson the past few days.
And now that very well means two Millen siblings could be starting at quarterback someday for Pac-12 programs.
“Cale is super excited for me,” Millen said. “Hopefully we will see each other down the road – maybe even in the Pac-12 championship game.”