As Arizona Football head coach Jedd Fisch enters his second season, he has led at the top with his assistants; however, all good teams must have player peer leaders.
Every smart coach knows the importance of player leadership. It is important on the field, in the classroom, locker room, and even outside of football activities. Arizona Football has player leaders.
Let’s take a look at who I think are the presumptive leaders on this team heading into 2022, meaning, these individuals possess the abilities to appropriately influence and guide their teammates to success.
Six players stand out to me as peer leaders and they are; JB Brown, Jalen Harris, Jerry Roberts, Jayden de Laura, Christian Young, and Jamarye Joiner.
JB Brown (Defensive Line) – A fifth-year senior, JB has been through three head coaching changes going back to the Rich Rodriguez era, and he has been in the program since 2017.
Outside of football, he is a proud father and this has led to his maturity and even more responsibility in his life even outside of football.
There is no question that he has a ton of knowledge to share with five-plus years of experience as a Wildcat under his belt. But this is a guy that believes in, enjoys showing, and demonstrating to younger players and newbie freshmen the Wildcat way.
Sharing knowledge and information for the greater good of the team and program, JB has played in 32 games wearing the Block A.
He did opt out of the 2020 abbreviated Covid season, but he has made it clear that he truly missed his teammates. Even during that time, he maintained contact with his teammates and the program.
Jalen Harris (Defensive Line) – A redshirt senior, Jalen is no stranger to the Block A as he was a team captain in 2021. He leads by example by always working hard. He has been a Wildcat for five-plus years and like Brown, has experienced the same three head coaches.
Harris has played in 44 games as a Wildcat. His wealth of experience should be valued and utilized. He carries himself as a mature professional that has five years of D1 football experience.
Jerry Roberts (Linebacker) – Also a redshirt senior, Jerry is a transfer from Bowling Green that joined the Wildcats before the 2021 season. It is apparent to me that he is a leader when you see him on the practice and game day field.
When I hear him speak, I pick up that he enjoys teaching others. His outward vocal presence is noteworthy. Jerry’s leadership traits and characteristics stand out to me as he is a take-charge guy and is not scared of that role, he relishes it. Roberts has played in 29 games of D1 college football.
Jayden de Laura (Quarterback) – A sophomore, Jayden was the 2021 Pac-12 offensive freshman player of the year. He transferred in from Washington State this off-season and was a welcomed addition for the Cats.
By default, every QB should be a leader in my opinion. And by default or not, I see a smart leader in Jayden. And part of being a leader is also being a good teammate, and even a follower depending on the circumstances.
I believe Jayden is well-rounded accordingly, as he is constantly in communication with teammates while guiding and building relationships. He takes command of the offense as every quarterback should. And I believe that he understands not only is he expected to throw touchdown passes, but also to be in charge which includes keeping teammates informed and lined up correctly.
Christian Young (Safety) – A senior, Christian has been wearing the Block A since 2018. A tough, enthusiastic, lead by example and follow my lead guy, he is a vocal player who not only makes sure that he knows what’s going on but keeps his teammates informed. Young has experienced two head coaching changes as a Wildcat, he has played in 36 games.
Jamarye Joiner (Wide Receiver) – A redshirt junior, Jamarye is the ultimate do what it takes for the team guy. He has battled injuries and every time, he comes back stronger. During his career he has played his primary position of wide receiver but has also stepped in when the team needed his services, playing quarterback on multiple occasions. He has also played on special teams by returning punts.
Joiner demonstrates toughness and the willingness to go the extra mile and is a smart leader. In the wide receiver corps, Joiner has been wearing the Block A the longest and is a seasoned Wildcat.
After taking a rest day today, Arizona Football gets back to work tomorrow at the Dick Tomey practice fields at 10:00 am. Look for these Wildcats to take command of the team this season!