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Two running backs commit to the Arizona Wildcats

Mauriece Lee

Mauriece Lee ran for 8.2 yards per carry last season for Marcos de Niza. Photo by Pat Shanahan, The Arizona Republic

As of late last week, the Arizona Wildcats football team had offered scholarships to about 110 high school juniors.

Coach Rich Rodriguez turned two of those offers into player commitments on Saturday, according to multiple reports.

Those two players are running backs – Mauriece Lee from Tempe Marcos de Niza High School and Zachary Green from St. Bonaventure High School in Ventura, Calif.

They were on campus visits this weekend, able to watch the team scrimmage Friday night.

Both are considered three-star prospects by 247Sports.com.

Lee (5-7, 170) ran for 722 yards and 12 touchdowns last season, averaging 8.2 yards per carry. He also caught 23 passes for 405 yards. The Wildcats might hope he holds some sway with his teammate Priest Willis, a five-star cornerback who holds dozens of scholarship offers, including from LSU, USC, Michigan, Notre Dame, Arkansas and Arizona.

(Willis’ stepfather told the Arizona Republic that Lee’s commitment will be a “non-factor.”)

Green (5-10, 210) last week earned the running back MVP award at the Nike Football Training Camp. Arizona was the first to offer him a scholarship and got his commitment before other schools could turn up the heat. USC and Alabama have been among those interested in Green.

Green rushed 133 times for 1,050 yards as a junior.

These are the first players in the Class of 2013 to commit to Rodriguez. Arizona also has a commitment from offensive lineman Logan Stott from St. George, Utah. He committed to the former UA coaching staff last May and is still planning to sign with the Wildcats.

I asked Rodriguez last week about what he thought would be a good number of commitments to have this summer.

“I’ve thought about it quite a bit because it seems like there are more and more early commitments now than ever before,” he said. “It seems like some guys have 13 and 15. That’s great for them. I think it’s more important to have the right guys.

“I would expect us to have a handful, maybe half a dozen by the end of summer. But in a way, I don’t want to fill up too much because there are a lot of guys who emerge as seniors or get overlooked a little bit. In their senior years, they get bigger, stronger and show they can play.”

Rodriguez’s first class included a couple of those late-blooming type of players, including quarterback Javelle Allen and receiver Trey Griffey.

“I think sometimes you can take a guy too early,” Rodriguez said.

“But we have a lot of offers out there, and there are a whole bunch of guys that if they called up and said, ‘I want to come,’ I’d say, ‘OK.’”

He happily said “OK” twice on Saturday.

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