Over the next week, Zona Zealots will be previewing the Arizona Wildcats’ 2013 roster in advance of their season opener against NAU on Aug. 30 (For the full list of position previews, click here).
Matt Scott (Jacksonville Jaguars), Jack Nykaza, Alex Cappellini
RJr. Jesse Scroggins (Lakewood, Calif./Lakewood/USC/El Camino College), RFr. Connor Brewer (Scottsdale, Ariz./Chaparral/Texas), Fr. Khari McGee (Fresno, Calif./Edison), Fr. Anu Solomon (Las Vegas/Bishop Gorman), Fr. Adam Friederichsen (Encinitas, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga)
Just a year removed from inheriting the perfect quarterback for his system, things aren’t going to come as easy for second-year coach Rich Rodriguez.
Matt Scott, who redshirted the previous season in anticipation of starting after Nick Foles’ departure, threw for 3,620 yards and ran for another 506 yards with a combined 33 touchdowns last year. His performance earned him a spot on the All-Pac-12 Second Team and he was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Now the Wildcats are searching for Scott’s replacement, which has proven to be a difficult task.
Heading into fall camp, it was speculated that the starting job was a three-horse race between returning backup B.J. Denker, junior college transfer Jesse Scroggins and highly-touted freshman Anu Solomon.
A combination of inconsistency, inexperience and injury has led many to believe that Denker will be the starting quarterback by default for the season’s first game. Denker separated himself from the group with a strong performance in a scrimmage last Saturday.
The biggest knock on Denker is his ability to throw the deep ball, but what he lacks in arm strength he makes up with his accuracy, mobility and confidence. In limited time last season, Denker completed 67.6 percent of his passes for 259 yards, while adding another 74 yards on the ground.
While Denker will likely start the Wildcats’ first three games, it wouldn’t be surprising if Rodriguez plays Scroggins, Nick Isham and Javelle Allen to determine his starter moving forward. In other words, it’s very possible that the starter in the non-conference opener is different from the starter on Sept. 28 against Washington.
Lower on the depth chart, Solomon and Khari McGee look destined for a redshirt year, while Connor Brewer has sit out the season due to NCAA’s transfer rules. Adam Friederichsen is a walk-on who has yet to learn the system.
Fortunately, the Wildcats don’t need another Matt Scott to earn a second consecutive 8-win season due to an improved defense and weaker schedule. What they do need is a player who can limit turnovers and keep his team in games.
Tags: 2013 Football Position Previews Adam Friederichsen Anu Solomon Arizona Wildcats B.J. Denker Connor Brewer Follow Index Javelle Allen Jesse Scroggins Khari McGee Matt Scott Nick Isham Rich Rodriguez