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Arizona football countdown: 45 days...will the breakout player be Derrick Turituri?

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What can we expect from No. 45?

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Whenever you're talking Arizona Wildcats linebackers, the conversation usually starts and ends with Scooby Wright III, which is understandable.

But there's a guy that flanks him who I think could have an enormous season. That guy is Derrick Turituri.

Starting in eight of the 14 games last year, Turituri piled up 44 total tackles, five tackles for loss, and his three sacks were tied with Reggie Gilbert for fourth-most on the team.

Turituri played both tight end and linebacker in high school, and Rich Rodriguez has joked about using either him or Scooby at tailback at some point in their Arizona careers. I think the closest we got to seeing Turituri on offense was when he would have been the receiver on the fake field goal last year. He also had a fumble recovery in that Washington game.

But I think this is the year where he flourishes on the defensive side of the ball. Offensive coordinators are going to scheme their offense away from Scooby Wright, leaving guys like Turituri to make plays on a more regular basis. He made big strides from his freshman year to sophomore (11 tackles to 44 for example), and I think there's more of that progress on the horizon.

Combine him with Jake Matthews, a healthy DeAndre' Miller, and even Cody Ippolito, and you've got yourself a pretty good group sitting there behind the defensive line.

But let's get Turituri a touchdown at some point. As he said: "I've always wanted to score a touchdown whether it be on defense or whatever on field goals."