Another football recruit slips away as Hundley picks UCLA

Another fish in the local football talent pool has eluded the Arizona recruiting nets.  This time, it was a really big one that got away.

Brett Hundley, a four-star, dual-threat quarterback playing out his final year at Chandler High School, was the last of the top-10 QBs left in the recruiting wars for the class of 2011.  Monday he took his name out of the running by committing to UCLA, where he will try to run Rick Neuheisel’s ‘pistol’ offense.

And that will probably happen sooner, rather than later.  The Bruins are in big need of an impact player at that position, and Hundley will likely be ready to go by his freshman year.

Arizona and Arizona State had both offered the 2009 Arizona Gatorade Player of the Year a scholarship.  UofA even had an inside track.  Hundley’s father played for the Wildcats.

But the younger Hundley had narrowed his choices to UCLA and Washington over the summer.

UCLA lost their quarterback of the future when Brett Nottingham, a top-five catch, reneged on  his verbal commitment and signed instead with Stanford.  The Bruins are trying to make-do this year with Kevin Prince, a redshirt sophomore whose meager 120-yard effort last Saturday against Kansas State has sent his team off to a 0-1 start on the season.

Hundley has been at the top of the Bruins’ recruiting list for a long time, since the Bruins haven’t had a quality signal-caller for the past decade or so.  The 6’4″ Chandler product is a consensus top 10 pick, ranking as high as No. 5 by ESPN.com.

To get the succession process started as soon as possible, Hundley will be graduating from Chandler HS in December, so he can get started at UCLA by the new year.

Not long before Hundley picked the powder-blue Bruin cap at his official announcement at the Chandler Center for the Arts, another of Arizona’s prized recruits committed to another out-of-state college.  Christian Westerman, the 6’5″, 288 lb. offensive lineman for Hamilton High School who is considered the best in the state at his position, made an early commitment to the University of Texas.

And the 6’5″, 262 lb. guy next to him on the line, Tyler Johnstone, is headed for Oregon to play for the Ducks.

And a recent Arizona Republic article noted some other defections of quality local athletes to out-of-state programs.  Oregon is also getting a good offensive tackle in Andre Yruretagoyena and a defensive/tight end in Sam Kamp, both from Chaparral HS in Scottsdale.  Jordan Morgan, a safety from Blue Ridge HS in Lakeside, was scooped up by California, and San Diego State got a commitment from Jebron Harrington, a linebacker at Centennial HS in Peoria.

But Hundley was the catch of the summer.

Ranked as one of the top dual-threat quarterbacks in the nation, the first team All-Arizona selection threw for over 1,500 yards last season as a junior and ran for another 1,208 yards.

He’s already accumulated 627 yards in the air in his first two games this season.  His last game was a loss against powerhouse Centennial.  But he still threw for 359 yards and ran for another 107.

In another five months, he will be able to officially sign as a Bruin.

Rick Neuheisel is holding his breath.