National Signing Day: LB Derick Mourning becomes latest front-seven defender to sign with Arizona Wildcats

Arizona News

Welcome to the Star’s National Signing Day live blog, focusing on all things Arizona Wildcats. We will update this blog throughout the day as the UA jostles for recruits to add to its 2020 haul.

The Arizona Wildcats added another front-seven defender to their 2020 recruiting class with the signing of three-star linebacker Derick Mourning.

Mourning was something of a late bloomer on the recruiting scene because of concerns that he wouldn’t qualify academically. He visited Arizona over the weekend, committed to the Wildcats on Sunday night and signed with them Wednesday afternoon.

Mourning, listed at 6-3, 212 pounds, likely projects as an outside linebacker in new defensive coordinator Paul Rhoads’ 3-4 scheme. Here’s Rhoads’ breakdown of Mourning’s game:

Mourning is expected to be the final addition of the day for Arizona. The Wildcats are considered the favorites to land Canadian defensive lineman Paris Shand, who’s holding off his announcement until the weekend.

We’ll have further analysis of the UA’s 2020 class later today at

The Arizona Wildcats have added a front-seven defender while losing battles for two others.

As expected, three-star prospect Jabar Triplett Jr. officially joined the UA’s 2020 class Wednesday afternoon. Triplett, a linebacker from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, committed to Arizona in October. All subsequent social-media activity suggested Triplett would stick with that pledge, and he did, making it official at a ceremony at Southern Lab High School.

Here’s a breakdown of Triplett’s game, courtesy of Arizona assistant coach Theron Aych:

Arizona was among three finalists for edge rusher Eddie Watkins and defensive lineman Nusi Malani, but both decided to go elsewhere.

Watkins, who visited Arizona in late January, announced he’ll be signing with West Virginia. Watkins is a three-star DE-OLB from Hillcrest High School in Evergreen, Alabama.

Malani is a three-star prospect with excellent size (6-6, 250) who attends Junipero Serra High in San Mateo, California. He visited Arizona this past weekend, but Virginia was considered the favorite and became Malani’s destination.

Arizona is expected to sign Texas three-star outside linebacker Derick Mourning later this afternoon and could add Canadian defensive lineman Paris Shand by the weekend.

With a lull in the action – things should pick up a little after noon Tucson time – it’s a good opportunity to reset the board for the Arizona Wildcats.

Arizona has signed four players so far today:

  • RB Frank Brown Jr. (6-0, 180)
  • DL Shontrail Key (6-6, 262)
  • OL Leif Magnuson (6-4, 270)
  • CB Edric Whitley (5-11, 170)

That brings the Wildcats’ total to 18 for 2020, including two graduate transfers. The expectation is that Arizona will sign a few more players. The key targets, with approximate times they plan to announce:

  • DL Nusi Malani (12:15)

Malani’s three finalists are Arizona, Virginia and Washington State. The Hokies are considered the favorites.

  • LB Derick Mourning (2:30)

Mourning committed to Arizona on Sunday and is expected to sign this afternoon.

  • DL Paris Shand (TBD)

The UA is considered the favorite for Shand, who could delay his announcement until this weekend.

  • LB Jabar Triplett (12:30)

Triplett announced his commitment to the Wildcats in October, and he is expected to sign this afternoon.

  • LB Eddie Watkins (12:30)

Watkins will make his call about the same time as Triplett. Arizona is one of three finalists, along with Missouri and West Virginia.

The Arizona Wildcats officially have added defensive lineman Shontrail Key to their 2020 signing class.

The UA is listing Key at 6-4, 262 pounds, although Key says he is 6-6. A former basketball player, Key has played only one year of football. So the feeling is that his best years are ahead of him.

Here’s new UA defensive line coach Stan Eggen breaking down Key’s film:

Key is the 18th member of Arizona’s ’20 class, including graduate transfers. He’s the fourth defensive lineman to sign with the UA in this cycle.

Kevin Sumlin wants to change the dimensions of Arizona’s front seven. The Wildcats took a positive step in that direction Wednesday morning.

The UA landed a verbal commitment from three-star defensive lineman Shontrail Key. Key is listed at 6-7, 250 pounds.

Key attends Morgan Park High School in Chicago. He also held an offer from Illinois.

Meanwhile, Arizona announced the addition of three-star offensive lineman Leif Magnuson, the 17th player to officially join the UA’s 2020 class (including grad transfers).

Here’s UA offensive line coach Kyle DeVan breaking down Magnuson’s film:

The Arizona Wildcats have been busy early on National Signing Day.

After adding Houston all-purpose back Frank Brown Jr., the UA officially brought three-star cornerback Edric Whitley into the fold.

Whitley had been committed to UNLV and visited Ole Miss over the weekend. But Arizona was able to land the speedy corner out of Weiss High School in Pflugerville, Texas, two days after losing three-star DB Alphonse Oywak to Washington State.

Arizona is listing Whitley at 5-11, 170. He shows a lot of speed on his senior film:

Meanwhile, three-star offensive lineman Leif Manguson has signed his letter of intent.

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Magnuson attends Bethlehem Catholic High School in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. He is the third O-lineman to sign with the UA for 2020.

“There’s always one or two that could surprise you either way,” Arizona coach Kevin Sumlin said of National Signing Day.

The Wildcats were the beneficiaries of a pleasant surprise Wednesday morning when three-star cornerback Edric Whitley announced he was committing to the UA.

Whitley, who’s from Pflugerville, Texas, near Austin, had been committed to UNLV. He also held offers from Miami and Ole Miss and visited the latter over the weekend.

Whitley’s commitment comes two days after Arizona lost cornerback Alphonse Oywak, who’s signing instead with Washington State.

Whitley is the 65th-ranked cornerback in the country and the 103rd-best player from Texas, according to 247Sports’ composite ratings.

Three-star all-purpose back Frank Brown Jr. of Houston became the first prospect to join the Arizona Wildcats on Wednesday, signing with the UA at a ceremony at Sterling Aviation High School.

Brown is the highest-rated prospect in Arizona’s 2020 class, according to 247Sports’ composite rankings, which have him as the No. 11 all-purpose back in the country.

Brown had a standout senior season at Sterling, rushing for 848 yards, catching 42 passes for 1,104 yards and scoring 30 touchdowns. He averaged 18.8 yards per scrimmage touch.

Brown is the 15th player to join Arizona’s 2020 class, including two graduate transfers. Here’s UA assistant coach Theron Aych discussing the newest Wildcat:

Brown stuck with his pledge despite the recent departure of Arizona running backs coach DeMarco Murray. Brown also declined the opportunity to visit Baylor over the weekend.

The Arizona Wildcats still have work to do.

Some of the fruit of their labor will be revealed today – the old-school National Signing Day, which has become a supplement to the early signing period in December but which remains important for the UA and scores of programs across the country.

Arizona enters the day with room for improvement, to say the least. The Wildcats’ 2020 class is ranked last in the Pac-12, according to 247Sports and Rivals.

The UA is expected to add up to six players this week. Names to monitor include:

  • RB Frank Brown*
  • DL Shontrail Key
  • OL Leif Magnuson*
  • LB Derick Mourning*
  • DE Paris Shand
  • LB Jabar Triplett*
  • LB Eddie Watkins

(*-verbally committed to Arizona)

In the meantime, here are the players Arizona added before today:


  • OL Josh Baker (6-3, 280)
  • CB Khary Crump Jr. (5-11, 175)
  • OL Woody Jean (6-4, 285)
  • RB Jalen John (5-11, 210)
  • K Tyler Loop (6-0, 160)
  • TE Stacey Marshall (6-5, 240)
  • WR Dyelan Miller (6-2, 190)
  • WR Roberto Miranda (6-2, 220)
  • QB Will Plummer (6-2, 205)
  • DE Regen Terry (6-4, 250)
  • DE Dion Wilson Jr. (6-4, 256)
  • WR Majon Wright (6-2, 197)


  • DT Aaron Blackwell (6-3, 298)
  • WR-S Brenden Schooler (6-2, 193)

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