After inheriting a nearly-empty cupboard when he arrived in Tucson little more than six months ago, the Wildcats’ new football boss has stocked the shelves to overflowing with quarterback prospects.
Last November, Rich Rodriquez arrived to take over the University of Arizona football program and, within weeks, two of the quarterbacks on the Wildcat roster, Daxx Garman and Tom Savage, announced they were leaving.
My, how things have changed in six short months.
The addition of Tommy Woodson over the weekend brings the total QB hopefuls to seven when the Cats take the field in the fall – and 10 aspirants that will be on the roster for 2013, all vying for one starting spot. That coveted role belongs to Matt Scott right now, the fifth-year senior who is the projected starter going into fall practice.
Actually, the 2013 count would be 11 if you were to add in Bryce Harper, an incoming freshman who played quarterback in high school, but will likely be converted to a receiver. Or an even dozen if sophomore walk-on, Tyler D’Amore, hadn’t decided to drop out of the program to play at Pima Community College.
When Rodriguez goes to sleep at night, he’s got to be counting quarterbacks, not sheep.
Woodson is only a two-star prospect, but was reportedly recruited by some big-name programs like Alabama, West Virginia, and UCLA. But Arizona put a scholarship offer on the table – and he grabbed it.
You’ve gotta wonder if anybody told him about the long waiting line that was forming in front of him.
His readiness to accept the Wildcat offer came from his familiarity with Rodriguez and his staff, which became aware of Woodson’s abilities when they were coaching at Michigan and the youngster attended a Wolverine passing tournament in his freshman year.
Woodson threw for 1,177 yards and 11 touchdowns last year at his Pennsylvania high school.
The week before, RichRod picked up a couple of other signal callers, one a transfer with starting experience from a major program.
Nick Isham will soon be arriving from Louisiana Tech, where the dual-threat quarterback was the starter as a true freshman at the beginning of last season before losing his starting job after seven games. He played in 10 games, throwing for 1,457 yards and eight touchdowns.
Since he will have to sit out next season because of the NCAA transfer rules, he becomes part of that bumper crop of QB hopefuls in 2013.
Rodriguez also added Jack Nykaza last week, who can play next season. The 6’1″, 190 lb. freshman passed for 1,213 yards and six touchdowns as a senior at New Trier High School in Wilmette, Ill.
Nykaza joins two other freshmen on the 2012 squad, Javelle Allen and Josh Kern; Alex Cappellini, a sophomore walk-on from the junior-collge ranks; B.J. Denker, a junior who is another JUCO transfer; and returning junior, Richard Morrison.
Morrison is in position to become Scott’s back-up going into next season – even though he played wide receiver for the Cats last year. But he’s an athletic player who was actually recruited out of high school by former head coach, Mike Stoops, as a quarterback and then converted to receiver.
That tells you something about the depth at quarterback. Rodriguez has the numbers, but doesn’t have much experience to go with the herd he is accumulating. Scott is the only player eligible to play in 2012 with college-level experience under center.
That kinda puts the new coach back where he was six months ago – but with a bigger support group.
(Photo: Arizona Athletics)