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The Arizona Wildcats’ starting quarterback in 2020 could be …

Shea Patterson with Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez. Photo via Twitter @BEhrlich15

The Arizona Wildcats might not be done recruiting quarterbacks for their 2013 class, but coach Rich Rodriguez has a head start on the 2016 class.

In a shocking bit of news Friday, Arizona received a commitment from high school freshman Shea Patterson from Hidalgo (Texas) High School as he and his family were on an unofficial visit to the UA campus.

“When I got there, I met Coach RichRod, took a tour around campus and it was just a beautiful sight,” Patterson told KRGV-TV in Weslaco, Texas.

“I met a lot of the players and I just felt that it was a good fit for me. And their offense — the quick-game, the spread option — it’s normal for me and what I’m used to.”

Let’s see … so if he redshirts in 2016, he could be a senior at Arizona in 2020.

Kind of crazy? Too early to offer a scholarship to a quarterback? Who knows. Patterson isn’t bound to this commitment until Feb. 3, 2016, which will be the first day of the football signing period for high school seniors.

This is a rare super-early commitment, but it’s not unprecedented. USC coach Lane Kiffin took a commitment from seventh-grader David Sills in the spring of 2010, and Washington’s Steve Sarkisian this summer received a commitment from Tate Martell, who was entering the eighth grade.

At least Patterson has a full season of high school ball under his belt.

He started for the varsity this season, passing for 1,376 yards and 18 touchdowns, also rushing for 414 yards and six touchdowns. He was limited to 7 1/2 games because of a broken left wrist, according to the McAllen Monitor.

Patterson (6-1, 180) already has been on the national stage. He played in the seventh-grade game and the eighth-grade game at the Eastbay Youth All-American Bowl in San Antonio in each of the past two years.

In various news stories from this fall, he’s described as a “phenom who looks nothing like a first-year player” and “a freshman … with the label superstar attached to his future.”

Too much hype? Too early of a commitment, or simply a brilliant move for both sides?

If nothing else, it should be fascinating for Arizona fans to watch Patterson’s development … for perhaps the next eight years.

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