Projecting Arizona Football's starting lineup in 2024

Arizona v Arizona State
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player. Noah Fifita. Noah Fifita. 511. NF. RS Sophomore. . QB. .

Noah Fifita
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After Jedd Fisch had to have his hand forced to give Fifita the starting reins, Brennan will have no such hesitations. Fifita, after spending over a season pigeon-holed behind the now-disgraced Jayden de Laura, was a revelation in 2023 and quickly became priority number one. In the middle of the Arizona vs. UCLA basketball game on Saturday, Jan. 20, Fifita announced his return for 2024. He's in the conversation for the Heisman Trophy next season thanks to a combination of comfort in the pocket, pinpoint-accurate throws, an ability to shake off pressure, and a willingness to take calculated risks.

This is the most important roster piece to retain, because the team looks to Fifita as one of the key leaders in the locker room. This team goes as he does.

TM. "X" wide receiver. Tetairoa McMillan. WR. 511. . . player. Junior. Tetairoa McMillan

Tetairoa McMillan
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McMillan will also be returning to his post as the team's leading receiving threat in 2024 after posting a 1,400-yard campaign in 2023. The 6 foot 5, 210-pound wideout has the ability to power through contact from a defender at the line while also maintaining a height advantage for jump balls. McMillan, the highest-graded prospect to ever sign with Arizona, will not only be one of the best receivers in the Big 12, but will be in the running for the Biletnikoff Award.

Good luck to every team's CB1 trying to keep him under wraps, and good luck to Arizona trying to convince him to avoid the NFL Draft next offseason.

Senior. Montana Lemonious-Craig. Montana Lemonious-Craig. WR. . . "Z" wide receiver. MLC. player. 511

Montana Lemonious-Craig
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Lemonious-Craig, who is set to return for his second season with Arizona after transferring in from Colorado last season, is poised for a much bigger role in the offense. His production last season was down from his final year with Colorado, posting 296 yards and three touchdowns on a career-high 28 catches. Expect to see him finish with 50-60 catches next season as the designated speed threat of the wide receiver corps similarly to Jacob Cowing, but in a much bigger frame at 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds.

AJJ. 511. AJ Jones. RS Sophomore. "F" wide receiver. AJ Jones. WR. player. .

With Jacob Cowing heading to the NFL Draft, there is a prime opening at the third wide receiver spot. Additionally, tight end Tanner McLachlan's departure also leaves a vacancy for a big-bodied pass-catcher. The 6 foot 4 Jones meets both of those criteria and is primed to have a career-year that will set him up for future success.

Could lose the starting spot to: Sophomore Malachi Riley, who caught some eyes during 2023 Spring practice. He played in 11 games last season, primarily on special teams, but he made a few appearances lined up out wide too, hauling in one pass each against Oregon State and Utah for 40 and 36 yards, respectively. Redshirt freshman Jackson Holman could be a threat here too.

Jacory Croskey-Merritt. JCM. Senior. . . player. 511. RB. Jacory Croskey-Merritt.

Jacory Croskey-Merritt
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Croskey-Merritt was one of two additions to a running back room that saw three departures over the offseason and was looking dangerously thin. After spending one season with New Mexico where he posted almost 1,200 rushing yards and 17 rushing touchdowns, he'll be following former New Mexico head coach and current Arizona special teams coordinator and linebackers coach Danny Gonzales to a different locale in the Southwest. He spent the prior four seasons at Alabama State, and his stop at Arizona will be the final one of his collegiate career.

Could lose the starting spot to: Quali Conley, who followed Brennan from San Jose State. New running backs coach Alonzo Carter utilized him efficiently in 2023, where Conley posted over 1,000 yards (842 rush, 269 receiving) despite having a 1,200-yard rusher ahead of him. Rayshon "Speedy" Luke has been patiently waiting his turn for two years too, and he didn't earn his nickname for nothing.

Keyan Burnett. TE. player. Junior. . 511. KB. . . Keyan Burnett

Burnett spent some time in the transfer portal evaluating his options, but he opted to withdraw his name and confirm a return for 2024. With Tanner McLachlan, the starter for the last two seasons, headed to the NFL, the starting tight end spot is wide open and the former four-star recruit is poised to finally take up the helm. Burnett stands at 6-foot-6 and 245 pounds while also having played high school football for two years at Servite High School alongside Fifita, McMillan, and linebacker Jacob Manu.

. player. RP. Raymond Pulido. 511. Sophomore. . LT. . Raymond Pulido

Pulido isn't unfamiliar with spurning "better" schools for Arizona. After flipping his commitment from Alabama to Arizona coming out of high school, he flirted with the transfer portal after the 2023 season. He opted to withdraw his name and return to Arizona, where he started a few games at right guard. However, Pulido played tackle in high school and took some snaps at the bookend spot as well, so his 6-foot-6, 335-pound frame — the heaviest on the offensive line — could slot in well as a Jordan Morgan replacement.

. Wendell Moe. player. . RS Sophomore. 511. Wowo. . Wendell Moe. LG

Wendell Moe
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After only appearing in four games in his true freshman year, Moe emerged as a force to be reckoned with at left guard in the 2023 season, earning Second-Team All-Pac-12 honors. He has announced a return for the 2024 season and will be a great help to returning freshman tackle Raymond Pulido who still needs developing to help keep Fifita's blind side as secure as possible. Moe has one of the more stocky builds on the offensive line, standing at just 6-foot-2 but an overwhelming 340 pounds. Moe is a road-grader who, like Morgan in 2023, simply erases defenders when he's on the move and isn't easily rattled in pass protection either.

Senior. C. player. 511. JB. . . Josh Baker. . Josh Baker

Josh Baker
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Baker has slowly molded himself into the anchor in the middle of the offensive line over the years. The 2024 season will be his fifth with the program and his third as a starter. He spent 2020-21 as a reserve lineman and slowly appeared in more and more games as time went on. He has started all 25 games at center over the last two years, and 2024 looks to be no different.

Baker is one of just three players on the team who were recruited by Kevin Sumlin in 2020, and he stayed through the dark times that were the 2020 and 2021 seasons.

. 511. . Leif Magnusson. RG. player. LM. . RS Junior. Leif Magnusson

Magnusson seems like the most likely candidate to take over at the starting right guard spot. He has experience playing at the guard spot and is slightly larger (6-foot-5, 315 pounds) than his key competition for the starting spot. This is the only position along the offensive line that will be a real battle.

Could lose the starting spot to: Fellow guard JT Hand, who was actually listed as the second-string right guard on the depth chart. His experience at this specific position may give him an edge over the slightly larger Magnusson. This is also the only offensive line spot vulnerable to being taken by an underclassman such as Rhino Tapa'atoutai or Elijha Payne. Watch out for veteran Grayson Stovall to try and get in here as well.

Junior. player. JS. . RT. 511. . . Jonah Savaiinaea. Jonah Savaiinaea

Savaiinaea held down the right tackle spot opposite Jordan Morgan for the last two seasons. Now, even with Morgan heading to the NFL, Savaiinaea seems likely to stay put at his right tackle position. Savaiinaea, known affectionately as "Big Jonah", is a mauler who earned All-Pac-12 honorable mentions in both of the last two seasons. He's shown great mobility as a pulling blocker or on screen plays, so expect to see some nasty pancake blocks come next season. The 6-foot-5, 330-pound tackle will be a nice security blanket right in Fifita's line of sight.