With the 2021 Arizona Football season just around the corner, we breakdown the five players that could break out for the Wildcats this coming year.
The Arizona Football season is quickly approaching, and while the expectations for the Wildcats in 2021 are certainly mixed, there is still plenty to be excited about with the upcoming season.
First-year head coach Jedd Fisch will make his debut with the Wildcats and while the expectations are likely to be low, there is no doubt he and the Wildcats have had a tremendous off-season.
Zona Zealots 0d - Arizona Basketball: Deandre Ayton is officially vindicated
More headlines around FanSided:0d - Talking Softball with Arizona Softball Hall of Famer Leah Braatz 1d - Arizona Baseball headed to CWS with route of Ole Miss 1d - NCAA Basketball: Top 10 impact head coaching hires from 2009 offseason 1d - College World Series on the line for Arizona Baseball in rubber match 2d - Deandre Ayton and Suns on verge of Western Conference Finals
So far, Fisch has done his best to change the perception of the program. He is beginning to transform the culture, increase the level of talent, as well as bridge the gap between alumni, fans, and the program.
All things considered, it has been a successful off-season for Arizona Football, and for the first time in quite awhile, fans are optimistic about Arizona Football and what the future has in store.
However, while things look positive from the outside, ultimately it is the results on the field that matter above all else, and we won’t know that looks right away.
So far no one really knows just how the Wildcats’ season will go under Fisch in 2021, however, the expectations will be low, which will allow for the Wildcats to potentially surprise some teams.
With that said, here are a few players we are predicting to have breakout years for Arizona Football in 2021.
Running Back, Strake Jesuit High School - Houston, TX
Despite seeing limited action with the Wildcats last year, Michael Wiley was one of the few bright spots for the Wildcats in the abysmal, abbreviated 2020 season. In five games, Wiley accounted for 222 yards rushing and three touchdowns on 31 carries (7.2 yard average).
While it is hard to say just what kind of role he will have with a deep and talented Arizona backfield, I still think Wiley will be one of Arizona’s better running backs, and I think he is primed for a big season!
Tight End, Hutchinson C.C. - Montgomery, AL
A player the saw very limited action in 2020, Stacey Marshall is a player that is poised for a big 2021 season after having a monstrous Spring.
Already, Fisch and the Wildcats have vowed to incorporate the tight end position more in 2021, and given Stacey’s size and athleticism, this is a no brainer here. He was a standout athlete at the talented Hutchinson Community College and I think he breaks out this year.
Running Back, Northwestern - Chandler, AZ
A transfer from Northwestern, Drake was the Wildcats’ leading rusher last year, and coming in, he has a great opportunity to be THE guy.
He has a great blend of power and speed, and inside the Pac-12 those should be great tools to have in order to succeed.
Sure, there are some questions along the offensive line, however, I think ultimately Arizona will be fine there, and Drake is going to be one of Arizona’s breakout players.
Inside Linebacker, Paetow High School - Katy, TX
A returnee from last year, Derick was a true freshman that saw limited action. Appearing in all five games, the young linebacker out of Texas accumulated 10 tackles (six solo).
I love his size and think he possesses a lot of talent. While Arizona should be deeper at linebacker this year, I still think Derick is a player that is going to see an increased role and could become a solid breakout player for the Cats.
Safety, Northwestern - Chandler, AZ
Another transfer from Northwestern, Gunner is a kid I see coming in and having an immediate impact. He saw limited action last year at Northwestern, but given the Wildcats’ needs in the secondary, this seems like a no brainer.
Overall, Gunner is a good athlete with solid size, and toughness. He packs a lot of power in his hits, and he is also a smart player.