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Arizona football: Wildcat seniors cap best four-year run in school history

Pretty remarkable considering how 2011 went

Chris Coduto/Getty Images

If in the middle of the 2011 season, you said that the Arizona Wildcats would go to a bowl game in each of the next four years, and have the best four-year stretch in the history of the program, you probably would have been institutionalized right on the spot.

But flash forward to the end of the 2015 season, and Arizona has won a total of 33 games in the first four years under Rich Rodriguez, which is the most wins in a four-year span ever by this school.

At the end of the final practice at Kindall Field/Sancet Stadium on Tuesday, Rodriguez made sure to do something a little different to send of the winningest class in Wildcat history.

"We usually carry (the seniors) off the field before the last game, but this is their last practice so it's a special day for them," coach said. "It's a special class. First one to go to four bowl games, and they've won more games than any senior class. Good group of guys."

What did they do? How about walkup songs and dances?

"It was real cool actually," Reggie Gilbert said about the dance party. "It kind of hit me a little bit right there that I'm never going to practice on this field again. It's just been a fun five years here."

"I think it's pretty unique how they send off the seniors and the things they do for us," David Richards added. "For us to do that one last time and have fun with our teammates one last time was pretty cool."

Richards and Gilbert are two guys that have been around since that dreadful 2011 season, and both went out with solid performances in Saturday's New Mexico Bowl. Richards had a TD catch at the end of the first half, and Gilbert had five tackles, one for a loss.

"These last five years have flown by," Richards said. "I think we're leaving off on a good point by going to four bowls in a row and being the class with the most wins at Arizona."

"Just like what he said, these years just flew by," Gilbert added. "Definitely have some good memories here."

"I haven't thought about it yet," Gilbert said about believing it's over. "It'll probably hit me after the game when I'm in the locker room."

"I've been thinking about it a little bit each and every day," said Richards.

So what's next for these two guys as they get ready for Arizona's Pro Day and potentially getting a crack at the NFL?

"Right now it's up in the air between San Diego and Scottsdale," Gilbert said of where he plans to continue to train. "There's always feedback throughout your senior season, but I try not to pay too much attention to that and just try and get as many W's as possible."

"It's still up in the air and still got some decisions to make but looking forward to the next three, four months and getting ready for pro day," Richards explained of where he is in the process. "We try to keep it out of our way until the end of the season, and I think playing our last year was what's most important for us, and individually we'll look what we got to do to move on forward."

Whatever ends up happening with these two guys, it's been a pleasure watching them play in an Arizona uniform. Their leadership was the cornerstone of getting this thing turned around so quickly and having the most successful four years of football that Tucson has ever seen.