Ka'Deem Carey probably didn't know it, but he had a big fan in San Diego last season.
Every time Carey touched the ball and darted through the defense for a big gain, running back Pierre Cormier's smile got bigger and bigger.
That could be him one day.
Cormier will sign a national letter of intent today with the Wildcats after committing to coach Rich Rodriguez and the UA in August. The Madison High School star is ranked as a four-star prospect by the Scout.com recruiting service.
An inch taller and about 15 pounds lighter than Carey at 5 feet 11 inches and 180 pounds, Cormier is eager to have the same type of impact in Tucson that Carey had in Rodriguez's first season.
"I can easily see myself being successful at Arizona," Cormier said. "I've run that offense since my freshman year of high school. I have a great opportunity to be successful there and make an impact."
If Cormier's senior season at Madison is any indication, he's ready for the transition to college football.
Cormier rushed for more than 2,200 yards and 29 touchdowns and led the Bulldogs to a California state championship. Scout.com bumped him to a four-star prospect; shortly after, Washington, UCLA and Tennessee all tried to get in on Cormier's recruitment.
The standout back visited UCLA and Washington, but stuck with his commitment to the Wildcats. Of the 25 players projected to sign with the Wildcats today, Cormier is just one of three four-star recruits.
"He single-handedly carried his team to a state championship," said Scout national recruiting analyst Brandon Huffman. "He's a speed guy who has come a long way."
Cormier began playing football in fifth grade. He was about to play in a basketball game when the coach of a local Pop Warner team asked if he was playing football.
Always intrigued by the sport, Cormier jumped at the chance and began playing defensive end for the Kearny Bulldogs.
That he fell in love with the game is no surprise. Football meshes with his family. Cormier's uncle, Calvin Sweeney, went to USC and played wide receiver for the NFL's Pittsburgh Steelers.
"I had always wanted to play before that, and when I finally got the chance, I fell in love," Cormier said.
Now, seven-plus years later, Cormier is coming to Tucson with one objective.
"My goal is not to redshirt as a freshman," Cormier said. "But, if I do, if that's what is best for the team, then that's fine with me. Ka'Deem is going to be the guy. My expectations are to come in and learn behind him and do what he does."
Cormier isn't the only big-time back Rodriguez is expected to bring in today. The San Diego native will team up with Zach Green, a three-star back out of St. Bonaventure High School in Ventura, Calif.
Like Cormier, Green got more attention as the season went on and received late offers from California and Washington. He stuck with the Wildcats and will give Rodriguez a different type of running back than he's accustomed to.
"Green is an intriguing fit," Huffman said. "He's not the conventional RichRod type of back. He's more of a straight power guy. He's not the get-in-the-open-field -and-wow-you type of guy. I really like him and Cormier coming in together."
Both Green and Cormier are expected to sign their letters of intent today at their respective schools.
Cormier said the recruiting period was "an exciting time.
"I enjoyed the recruiting process. It's a once in a lifetime type chance to be treated like this," he said. "I feel I made the right decision to the right school. I'm glad it's over now that I know where my next step in life is."
The newest Wildcats
The Arizona Wildcats will introduce their 2013 football recruiting class today. Here's a list of the top recruits at each position:
Pos. Total Top player
QB 2 Anu Solomon, Las Vegas Bishop Gorman High School
RB 3 Pierre Cormier, San Diego Madison High School
WR 5 T.J. Johnson, Cape Coral (Fla.) Island Coast High School
OL 3 Jacob Alsadek, Encinitas (Calif.) High School
DL 4 Luca Bruno, Oak Park (Calif.) High School
LB 6 DeAndre Miller, Buckeye Union High School
DB 4 Derek Babiash, Poway (Calif.) High School
Cats Hanging Out
The UA will host a Google+ Hangout today starting at 5 a.m. The online broadcast will include live video of letters coming into the football office over the fax machine. A Google+ Hangout is an online, live video chat that allows fans to ask questions throughout the day.
• How to join a Google+ Hangout: bit.ly/rGkFkE
• Where to join the UA's Hangout: bit.ly/UvG60y