Salpointe Catholic Class of 2022 alum Cruz Rushing said the decision to return home from Florida to Arizona is “a better opportunity to build something right from where I’m from.”
Rushing (6-feet and 194 pounds) was a preferred walk-on during the fall in Gainesville, Fla., where his father George played as a tight end under Steve Spurrier — a coach that impacted Arizona coach Jedd Fisch’s development when Fisch was a graduate assistant with the Gators in 1999 and 2000.
The younger Rushing said he will begin his activities within the Arizona program in the next few days leading up to spring practice.
The transition should be aided with his familiarity with Arizona’s coaches, especially Rincon/University graduate Beyah Rasool, an assistant defensive backs coach with the Wildcats. Rasool and others on the staff, including defensive backs coach Chuck Cecil, communicated with Cruz Rushing since trying to entice him to join Arizona’s program during his senior season with the Lancers,
“I built relationships with some of the different camps I went to (at Arizona),” the younger Rushing added.
Thank you greatly to @CoachJeddFisch @CoachNansenUofA @CoachKaufusi @CoachBeyRasool for the opportunity to play for my hometown team! @bangulo @ChadSimmons_ @CSing57 @adamgorney @JavierJMorales pic.twitter.com/NiETbuZB5I
— Cruz Rushing (@cruz_rushing) January 21, 2023
His younger brother Elijah Rushing, a Class of 2024 prospect Salpointe, is rated a five-star prospect as the top defensive end prospect in the nation by 247Sports. The 6-foot-6 and 245-pound talent has 34 college scholarship offers, many of them from major Power 5 programs such as Georgia, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas A&M and USC.
George Rushing mentioned to me last year when Cruz committed to Florida that the decision did not necessarily mean Elijah would follow his eldest son to Gainseville.
Cruz mentioned of the situation Friday: “I’ll always want the opportunity to play with my brother. I hope when it’s his time to decide we end up playing together.”
Another Rushing — David — will be a freshman at Salpointe next season. A skill-position player, he is 5-foot-10 and 130 pounds with a 71-inch wingspan and 9 1/4-inch hands.
George Rushing, the executive director of Catholic Community Services in Tucson, serves as the director of operations for Salpointe’s football program.
Cruz Rushing proved he is a talent in his own right during his career with the Lancers.
In his senior season, leading Salpointe to the 5A state championship game, Cruz Rushing had 80 tackles with two for loss as a safety.
His speed and eye for the ball was very apparent running down a Mica Mountain receiver from behind and making a tackle before reaching the end zone.
We were rotating to a cover 3 when I saw the quarterback looking behind me. All I was thinking was he better not score. They DID NOT SCORE! 56-5 @bangulo @JordyHamm @GametimeRC pic.twitter.com/XLQyoOMNhD
— Cruz Rushing (@cruz_rushing) October 25, 2021
Cruz Rushing’s announcement of him joining the Arizona program as a transfer comes less than a week after former CDO defensive tackle Chase Randall took the opportunity to become a Wildcat as a preferred walk-on after spending last season at Valparaiso.
Here is the podcast of that interview:
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon. He became an educator five years ago and is presently a special education teacher at Gallego Fine Arts Intermediate in the Sunnyside Unified School District.