Arizona Football: Breaking down the Seniors for 2021

Jul 27, 2021; Hollywood, CA, USA; Arizona Wildcats linebacker Anthony Pandy speaks with the media during the Pac-12 football Media Day at the W Hollywood. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 27, 2021; Hollywood, CA, USA; Arizona Wildcats linebacker Anthony Pandy speaks with the media during the Pac-12 football Media Day at the W Hollywood. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports /

With Fall Camp set to begin this week, it is fitting to recognize the Senior Class just ahead of the 2021 Arizona Football season.

A class that I consider to have eight position group starters and special teams playmakers, every Senior should be able to step up and lead Arizona Football in 2021.

Coming into 2021, the Seniors will need to play a key role in being leaders on and off the field, especially if the Wildcats are going to put a winless 2020 in the rearview mirror.

Arizona Wildcats
Arizona Wildcats /

Arizona Wildcats

With the extra year of eligibility granted by the NCAA due to Covid, keep in mind these young men are also a year older in maturity as it relates to life off the field too.

With the season around the corner, here’s the list of Seniors who could have bigger roles with Arizona Football this coming season:

1) Anthony Pandy

  • Hometown:  Carson, CA
  • Inside Linebacker
  • 6-foot-1, 225
  • Games Played (as a Wildcat): 39

Pandy should emerge as the vocal leader, calling the shots on Defense for Don Brown. And in the abbreviated Covid season, Pandy was one of the few bright spots for the Wildcats.

Starting all five games, he made eight tackles including a tackle for loss (TFL) against USC, nine tackles against UCLA, and later had two interceptions against Colorado, finishing the year tied for the team lead with 30 total tackles. In 2019, he finished third on the team with 66 total tackles, while starting in eight games.

2) Lucas Havrisik

  • Hometown: Riverside, CA
  • Kicker
  • 6-foot-2, 188
  • Games Played (as a Wildcat):  42

Last week Havrisik was named to the Pac-12 preseason all-conference team. I look for Jedd Fisch to lean on his experienced Senior kicker in those 4th down and medium to long situations, 50-55 yards out, taking a chance on one of his most tenured Wildcats to add 3 points.

Havrisik’s Stats, Numbers, and Achievements heading into the 2021 Season

  • In 2017, Lucas tied the all-time school record by connecting on a 57-yard field goal against Washington State.
  • In 2018, he ranked 2nd in the PAC-12 and finished 9th in the country with 81 percent Touchbacks on his kick-offs.
  • Nominated multiple times as the PAC-12 Special Teams Player of the Week.
  • His average long Field Goal for his career is 54 yards.
  • Has a total of 145 points in his career.
  • Has a 70 percent career field goal connectivity rate.
  • Has a 93 percent career extra point connectivity rate.
  • Based on his 2020 season performance, he tied at the No. 16 spot in the country with a .857 Field Goal percentage.

3) Bryce Wolma

  • Hometown:  Saline, MI
  • Tight End
  • 6-foot-4, 234
  • Games Played (as a Wildcat):  41

Wolma caught balls and scored touchdowns as a productive TE under Rodriguez’s offense, however, was not utilized much except as a decoy or for blocking in Kevin Sumlin’s offense.

In 2021, Wolma looks to have an increased role, catching balls, gaining yards, and hopefully scoring lots of touchdowns under the Jedd Fisch and Brennan Carroll game plans.

Wolma, a former Team Captain will continue to be a Leader with the Wildcats, and I expect him to be much more involved including scoring touchdowns in 2021. Regardless of playing time in recent seasons, this is a guy that is confident, positive, and ready to go.

4) Trevon Mason

  • Hometown:  Arlington, TX
  • Defensive Line
  • 6-foot-5, 318
  • Games Played (as a Wildcat): 17

Started 3 of 5 games in 2020, in 2019, he started 11 of 12 games. He ranked 6th on the team in tackles in 2020, even posting a career-high nine tackles against UCLA, including a tackle for loss.

Mason transferred to Arizona after playing two years of junior college ball at Navarro Community College, where he was considered to be one of the Top 12 best Defensive Lineman in the country.

5) Tavian Cunningham

  • Hometown:  Vacaville, CA
  • Wide Receiver
  • 5-foot-10, 175
  • Games Played (as a Wildcat): 16

Cunningham is the fastest man on the team followed by Berryhill and Joiner. He had his best game of 2020 in the opener against USC, posting five catches for 110 yards, with a long reception of 75 yards that went for a Touchdown.

Cunningham saw time in 2020 as a kick returner, with a long kick-off return for 28 yards coming against UCLA. There are several candidates to assume kick-off return duties in ’21 and that will come out in camp.

Although Tayvian is smaller in stature, he should be a top-three choice in the receiving corp. He has the ability to break away to the house, and he has great cutting abilities, able to turn on the jets with his speed.

6) Thomas Reid III

  • Hometown: Chesapeake, VA
  • Wide Receiver
  • 6-foot-2, 211
  • Games Played (as a Wildcat): 37

This is a guy that I think gets even more playing time in ’21. He’s more than proven himself on Special Teams and as a key role player as a Receiver. He has long arms, a great ability to extend for a ball a bit out of reach, and possesses good speed, and has the heart of a lion.

Don’t forget in 2018, he was voted All Pac-12 Honorable Mention. Fisch and Carroll should easily find a place for him to be more active in the Offensive Scheme, and to me, he is the kind of player that could be used on trick razzle-dazzle type plays. I would even put him in the mix to return kick off’s or punts.

Defensive Coordinator Don Brown even mentioned him by name as a standout during the Spring Camp. Reid III grew up in a military household, and I can already tell you that, that alone makes him flexible to situations. His dad is a retired U.S. Army Soldier and I know that Thomas is proud of that. You will hear his name called in ’21 and perhaps as TR3.

7) J.B. Brown

  • Hometown: Long Beach, CA
  • Defensive Line
  • 6-foot-3, 282
  • Games Played (as a Wildcat): 28

Brown opted out of the abbreviated 2020 season, however, in 2019, Brown was a key part of the defense. Registering five tackles for loss and three sacks while playing in twelve games with six starts, he was active in the action he saw.

Brown has good spin moves and I am sure those spins are even faster now. Brown and Defensive Line coach Ricky Hunley connected shortly after Hunley was named the new Defensive Line Coach and based on Brown’s social media posts it was apparent the coach and player were quickly on the same page.

J.B. posted videos of himself on Twitter running sprints and it is apparent he was working out during his opt-out year while still keeping up with Arizona Football. I look for Brown to be a big-time impact player and I expect him to return faster and stronger than we last saw him in 2019.

8) Josh McCauley

  • Hometown: Mesa, AZ
  • Offensive Line – Center
  • 6-foot-4, 295
  • Games Played (as a Wildcat): 30

One thing you never have to worry about with McCauley is he will always show up with a good attitude. He’s smart, positive, and he is the Sergeant along the offensive line. A leader that controls and takes charge of the offensive line as all good Centers do, he keeps the O-Line in order and motivated.

Coming into 2021, he is a preseason Remington Trophy Award Watch List Recipient, and I look for his leadership to not only be displayed for the O-Line but the entire team in 2021. Without question, McCauley is a role model and fine example for guys like Freshman up and comer JT Hand.

9) Aaron Blackwell, Graduate Student

  • Hometown: Peoria, AZ
  • Defensive Line
  • 6-foot-3 298
  • Games Played (as a Wildcat): 5

Blackwell has a unique and interesting story. I would imagine he is the oldest player on the team. Aaron came to Arizona by way of New Mexico as a transfer, and in 2018, he was recognized as a junior year as an All-Mountain West Conference Honorable Mention.

Most impressive was his 7.5 tackles for loss and two sacks. In 2020 with the Wildcats, he had just two tackles for loss, but he is another guy that knows the importance of spin moves and strength on the D-Line.

He saw limited time at New Mexico in 2019 due to injury, but prior to playing at New Mexico going back to 2015, Blackwell had a short stint on the Weber State football roster and played a season at Mesa Community College.

Blackwell’s total number of years of experience should definitely be recognized by Brown and Hunley. He can be a role model for players not only as his experiences relate to football but life as well. He was named as part of the All-Mountain West Conference Academic teams in 2017 and 2018, and he grew up watching Territorial Cups. He has stated that he enjoyed watching Scooby Wright play, and he knows the importance of the rivalry.

10) Jacob Meeker-Hackett

  • Hometown: Tucson, AZ
  • Punter / Wide Receiver
  • 6-foot-even, 212
  • Games Played (as a Wildcat): 4

He saw time on Special Teams in four games in 2020, and Meeker-Hackett came to the U of A by way of transfer from Pima Community College and Texas State in 2016 and 2017. He was an outstanding kicker and punter at Cienega High School, and he will surely compete hard with Kyle Ostendorp in the fall camp for the starting punter position.

11) Connor Hutchings

  • Hometown: Phoenix, AZ
  • Tight End
  • 6-foot4, 233

He did not make an appearance in 2020 and was redshirted in 2019. With an expected increased usage of the Tight End position, Hutchings could potentially see playing time in 2021. However, competition at this position is all of a sudden a factor under the Fisch / Carroll scheme, and it will be tough goings for the No. 2 position behind Wolma with the likes of Stacey Marshall, Roberto Miranda, and Zach Williams all competing along with Hutchings.

Either way, we can’t wait for the start of the 2021 season, and as Always, Bear Down Arizona and GO Cats!

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