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Arizona football: A look at the Wildcats’ special teams entering training camp

Last in the series

arizona-wildcats-football-preseason-training-camp-preview-special-teams-ostendorp-loop-mackellar Photo by Christopher Hook/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Arizona will begin preseason training camp on Wednesday, a month of workouts and practices to get the Wildcats prepared for the 2023 season that opens Sept. 3 against NAU.

To get you primed for camp, we’re breaking down each position group on the roster. Today we wrap things up with a focus on special teams

Players on roster: 6 (3 scholarship, 3 walk-on)

Projected starters: K Tyler Loop (Jr.), P Kyle Ostendorp (Sr.), LS Seth MacKellar (Sr.)

Loop has been close to automatic in his UA career, making 30 of 33 field goals including 18 of 21 last season, and he’s connected on all 50 extra-point attempts. His career long is only 48, though, but Arizona has seemed willing to go for it rather than try one from more than 50 yards out, so this hasn’t really been an issue yet.

Ostendorp set a school record with a 49.2-yard punt average in 2021 before dipping to 45.5 last season. For his career he’s at 46.3 yards over 113 kicks, way ahead of Nick Folk’s school record of 44.19 from 2003-06.

MacKellar has been as steady as they come in his role, his 40 career games most of any active Wildcat. Bad snaps on special teams have been almost nonexistent during his tenure

Top backups

Arizona doesn’t have any scholarship backups for any of the specialist spots this season, so the starting trio should be out there every time. If something happens, though, BYU transfer Cash Peterman would get a shot at kicking duties, while Jordan Forbes would be on punts and Kameron Hawkins would handle long snapping.

Return candidates

Jacob Cowing is the only returning Wildcat who returned either a kick or punt last season, and he figures to get another look at those responsibilities. But Arizona has plenty of other options to consider, such as running backs Rayshon ‘Speedy’ Luke and Stevie Rocker Jr., freshman receivers such as Kevin Green Jr., Devin Hyatt or Malachi Riley and freshman defensive backs like Gavin Hunter and Jai-Ayvaiuynn Celestine.