Many in college football recruiting circles already knew of Garic Wharton’s speed before his junior track season.
But the Valley wide receiver’s stock skyrocketed since he set the state record in the 100-meter dash at 10.39 seconds at the state meet May 22.
Wharton ended the recruiting process Wednesday by giving an oral commitment in both sports to Arizona. He chose the Wildcats over Nebraska, Utah, Utah State and UNLV.
“I’m real excited about the decision,” Wharton said. “I have family in Tucson. It’s exciting to play for a team they’ve been rooting for the last few years. It almost feels like a home team.”
Wharton has two cousins who graduated from Arizona and another who expects to next year.
Another draw was the Wildcats not asking him to move from wide receiver. He said they envision him as a receiver and return specialist, though he also has played cornerback for the Vikings.
"Since day one, (Arizona) saw me as a receiver," he said.
The 5-foot-11-inch, 160-pound Wharton caught 34 passes for 468 yards and three touchdowns as a junior and rushed for 247 yards and three TDs on 12 attempts. Rivals.com ranks Wharton the No. 66 receiver prospect in the nation in the class of 2010.
“He has all the speed everybody needs,” Valley football coach John Elwell said. “He’s got a big heart.”
Wharton also garnered interest from Southern California, Oregon, UCLA and Tennessee.
Wharton will make an official visit to Arizona next year. He said he no longer plans to attend USC's Rising Stars Camp from June 24-25.
RECENT DECISIONS — Seniors who recently signed with Division I programs include Bishop Gorman boys soccer midfielder Cody Barnett (San Francisco); Coronado girls distance runner Michaelanne Laurent (Brigham Young); Durango boys hurdler Donovan Lewis (Southern Utah); Shadow Ridge girls sprinter Rebecca Brown (Utah Valley); Tech boys swimmer Johnny Funk (Rider); and Gorman girls diver Alexandra Pfeiffer (Boise State).
After one season at Las Vegas’ Impact Basketball Academy, former Silverado swingman Jimmy McMurrin signed with Jacksonville.
Seniors who recently committed to Division II programs include Spring Valley baseball infielder Ryan Hendershot (Colorado State-Pueblo); Green Valley girls basketball center Vajae Robinson (Dixie State, Utah); Las Vegas High defensive back Jonathan Tagle (New Mexico Highlands); and Sierra Vista lineman Jace Foster (Mesa State, Colo.).
Seniors headed to Division III programs include Desert Pines receiver Anthony Ruiz (Lewis & Clark College, Ore.) and Palo Verde boys lacrosse attackman Conner White (College of Mount St. Joseph, Ohio).
JC SIGNINGS — Las Vegas running back Reggie Bullock, receiver Aaron Franklin and defensive lineman Alanzi Langstaff signed with Arizona Western College.
Other football signings include linemen Laurence Leu (Grossmont College, Calif.) of Cheyenne and Jordan Padgett (Feather River College, Calif.) of Cimarron-Memorial.
Boys basketball signings include Eldorado’s Mitrell Clark (Arizona Western); Desert Pines’ Pierre Jackson (College of Southern Idaho); Western’s Johnnie Diggs and Melvin Washington (Snow College, Utah); Liberty’s Cameron Peters (Cloud County College, Kan.); and Canyon Springs’ Antonio Snow and Moapa Valley’s Shaun Hilton (Big Bend College, Wash.).
Girls basketball signings include Palo Verde’s Zadous Pollard (South Plains College, Texas) and Shameka Smith (Western Texas College); Legacy’s Kindrea Poole (Tyler College, Texas); and Foothill’s Desirae Ayala (Yakima Valley College, Wash.).