Two Arizona football stars included in CBS' Top 100 Players of 2024

The excitement is finally starting to creep beyond the desert.
Arizona v Arizona State
Arizona v Arizona State / Christian Petersen/GettyImages
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TM. . Tetairoa McMillan. 511. Junior. 13. Tetairoa McMillan. . Wide receiver. player

Tetairoa McMillan, Decamerion Richardson
Arizona v Mississippi State / Justin Ford/GettyImages

When McMillan flipped his commitment from Oregon to Arizona, he became the highest-graded recruit to ever sign with the program. The former consensus five-star prospect coming out of Servite High School had some lofty expectations heaped onto him, and it's safe to say he even exceeded those.

He spent his freshman year getting his feet wet, playing all 12 games with eight starts. He grabbed 39 receptions for 702 yards — the best mark among all true freshmen in 2022 — and a Pac-12 lead-tying eight touchdowns.

He exploded onto the scene in 2023 when his high school quarterback took the reins. McMillan started all 13 games and caught 90 balls for a whopping 1,402 yards — both the second-most in a season in program history — and 10 touchdowns. He earned Second Team All-Pac-12 and Third Team All-America nods for his remarkable efforts.

Dec 28, 2023; San Antonio, TX, USA; Arizona Wildcats wide receiver Tetairoa McMillan (4) catches the
Dec 28, 2023; San Antonio, TX, USA; Arizona Wildcats wide receiver Tetairoa McMillan (4) catches the / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

McMillan is already one of the most statistically productive receivers to hit the field in Tucson: he's eighth in career receiving yards and touchdowns, his 10 touchdowns last season tied the eighth-most in program history, and his 266-yard outing against Arizona State was the second-most ever in a game by an Arizona receiver.

As a former wide receiver, new head coach Brent Brennan has to be salivating with this type of player in the building. McMillan is rightfully getting his flowers — Missouri's Luther Burden is the only pure receiver ranked ahead of him — and he should continue his reign of terror in 2024 with Fifita throwing to him.

. Noah Fifita. 36. NF. RS Sophomore. Quarterback. player. Noah Fifita. 511.

Nov 25, 2023; Tempe, Arizona, USA; Arizona Wildcats quarterback Noah Fifita (11) celebrates a
Nov 25, 2023; Tempe, Arizona, USA; Arizona Wildcats quarterback Noah Fifita (11) celebrates a / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

We've already launched into a lengthy explanation about why Fifita is one of the best quarterbacks in college football, and this ranking reflects that. He's ranked as the seventh-best quarterback on Brockermeyer's list ahead of guys like Utah's Cam Rising, Mizzou's Brady Cook, and Ole Miss' Jaxson Dart.

Fifita, who can largely be credited with getting both McMillan and stud linebacker Jacob Manu to Tucson, spent his true freshman season riding the bench as Jayden de Laura's backup. However, an ankle injury to de Laura thrust Fifita into the starting job and he simply played too well to be benched again.

He kept Arizona within striking distance in his first two starts against No. 7 Washington and No. 10 USC, but the 'Cats ultimately lost them both by a combined 9 points. Fifita and Arizona proceeded to go on a tear and didn't lose a game for the remainder of the season.

Noah Fifita
Utah v Arizona / Chris Coduto/GettyImages

Fifita had two games where he tossed five touchdowns (vs. USC, at Arizona State) and set the single-game passing record when he threw for 527 yards in the Territorial Cup. Fifita is a remarkably efficient passer: his lowest single-game completion percentage was a still-solid 60% against Colorado, and he completed an astonishing 72.4% of his passes on the season, tied for fourth among all Division I quarterbacks (min. 100 attempts).

The signal-caller led Arizona to its first bowl game win in nearly 10 years, and he threw as many passing touchdowns (25) as de Laura did in three fewer starts. Fifita's rise was sudden, but he never once looked out of place on the big stage. He's in for an even better year in 2024, and Arizona football is on the precipice of something huge.

How Noah Fifita became one of the best quarterbacks in college football. dark. ICYMI. Feef

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