On Monday night, San Diego (Calif.) Westview tight end Taylor McNamara decided to narrow his list of top programs in the nation to just one. After eliminating schools like Florida State, Miami, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oregon and USC, McNamara picked the Pac-12 school that was first to offer.
"I'm a Wildcat," McNamara announced. "I'm so excited.
"Monday I called Coach Hammerschmidt, who was the coach that personally recruited me first. I told him that I cut my list down, and he said ‘oh no, you're not cutting us out, are you?' and I was like, ‘well, I cut it down to one; you guys.' He went crazy.
"Oh my god he was just going nuts, he was screaming and shouting. I called Coach Stoops and Coach Litrell after that and they just congratulated me. Coach Litrell was going nuts too, Coach Stoops was real happy, it was just fun."
McNamara could not be more excited about his commitment to the Wildcats; a decision which he says was based on several factors.
"The reason I picked Arizona was definitely the coaches and the players," he revealed. "I feel really comfortable there. And the campus, it's close enough for my parents to come see me. And I love the early playing time. It's been a goal of mine to pay early and try to start as a true freshman and I think there's a good opportunity for me to do that there."
Another major reason for McNamara's attraction to Arizona comes from a certain other tight end that made a large impact on the Wildcat program in a way McNamara hopes to live up to. McNamara, who has already been compared to Rob Gronkowski, describes the former Wildcat as a role model of his.
"I hope I get compared to him, because it would be an honor. And I already have, so it's just been cool," McNamara says in regards to Gronkowski. "That's something coaches have preached to me, ‘you can do all the things he did coming out of high school and we really think you can be the same type of player'.
"That was a huge sell for me, I don't think I would've really ended up there if he hadn't had done the things he did there, because they showed how they can use a tight end and what they plan on doing when they get a good one. I look up to him and I'm just excited."
How exactly did the Arizona coaching staff sell it?
"They pretty much brought out highlight tape of Rob Gronkowski when I was on the visit and told me they could use me the same way," McNamara shares. "I watch a ton of film of him, he's an unbelievable player. I haven't had the chance to meet him yet, but I tweet him a couple times and he'll tweet me back every now and then. We've kind of touched bases in a way, but we haven't officially met, so I'm looking forward to that."
The meeting between McNamara and Gronkowski will likely take place at Arizona Stadium in the near future, as McNamara claims he is committed to the Wildcats for good.
"If they tell me, ‘hey, it's fine if you take other visits as long as you're 100% committed to us,' I might take a couple just to go and see places, but I'm not in a rush to go anywhere," says McNamara. "Just to see new places that I haven't seen before, that's the only reason I could think of to take any visits. I'm 100% sure that I'm going to be an Arizona Wildcat."
This commitment is one that McNamara was eager to make.
"I was starting to think about it and I was going, ‘man, I really want to get this out of the way, I don't want to have this pressure on me all throughout my senior year and my senior summer, it'd be nice to have it over with and know where I'm going, so I can be able to relax and focus on getting better.' I thought about it and I kept thinking about it, and it kept sounding better and better."
Many of his family and friends were happy and supportive to learn about McNamara's decision.
"After our scrimmage on Friday, I felt great about it and I told my parents, ‘I'm dead serious about this, do you support me?' and they said, ‘yeah, we'd love it if you went there, it's close enough for us to see you.' They're not doubting it," McNamara says. "They love the school and they love the coaches, so I'm excited."
His parents aren't the only ones that are excited. Some of his friends have even stepped in as assistant recruiters.
"Dame Ndiaye (2011 Arizona signee), I'm good friends with him and he told me to give him a shout out," McNamara says with a laugh. "He recruited me pretty hard. We got to know each other and he kept telling me to be a Wildcat, he's been a good friend to me."
At the end of the day, there were plenty of reasons why McNamara felt he should commit.
"The early playing time, playing in the Pac-12, the coaches, having the chance to build the program, and they haven't had too many top commits, so to bring something back to the top would be cool," he said.
"It just felt right at Arizona."