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Arizona football: Predicting the defensive depth chart

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Arizona lost six starters on defense last year, here's what the projected depth chart could look like for week one.

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Defensive Line

Reggie Gilbert/Timmy Hamilton

Back for his 5th season, Reggie Gilbert will anchor the defensive line. His size and leadership will help in the trenches. He's a guy who probably won't come off the field much. Arizona picked up JUCO transfer Timmy Hamilton, and he should be able to have an impact immediately. There hasn't been much talk of him up until now, but he would be a nice surprise to provide the line with depth.

Marcus Griffin/Parker Zellers/Sharif Williams

Marcus Griffin, a former 4-star recruit, has the size that Rich Rodriguez is looking for. At 6-0 300lbs, he's the biggest defensive linemen that has been with the program. Parker Zellers has the experience, and the will to keep up on the defensive line, but it's his size that could hold him back. He could be playing linebacker with his size, but does have what it takes to play on the line. It's hard to tell whether Sharif Williams will redshirt or not. He is by far the biggest on the line, 6-2 320lbs, but lacks the conditioning after suffering a tragic knee injury a back in high school.

Jeff Worthy/Anthony Fotu

Jeff Worthy battled injuries all season long and he'll need good health to be successful this season. He's another guy with experience and a big body to hold up the offensive line and keep them busy. Anthony Fotu is another JUCO transfer, who could take over a starting role at end or tackle. He's fairly versatile and could be a great addition to the defensive line.

Linebackers

Cody Ippolito/Jake Matthews

Cody Ippolito was a pleasant surprise last year, as was Jake Matthews. Ippolito finished 6th in tackles as a redshirt sophomore and will be the beneficiary of having Scooby Wright III next to him. Jake Matthews has apparently put on some good weight, and will see the field plenty as a junior, now on scholarship after walking on as a highly-touted baseball prospect out of Ironwood Ridge.

Scooby Wright/Marquis Ware/Sir Thomas Jackson

Scooby Wright is gonna do Scooby Wright things. Marquis Ware should be in better shape this season, allowing him to see the field. He was a 4-star recruit, so he has a lot of hype to live up to. He would be huge for Arizona if he can produce this year as a redshirt freshman. Sir Thomas Jackson fell off the map after his redshirt sophomore year. He played quite a bit as a redshirt freshman, totaling 31 tackles. Since then, he's totaled just six tackles. We can only hope that he gets back onto the field to help out the linebacker depth.

Derrick Turituri/DeAndre' Miller

Derrick Turituri is a big dude. He's broken a lot of records this offseason in the weight room and has proved to be a solid linebacker. He still has two more seasons and should be able to help stop the run. DeAndre' Miller battled a shoulder injury in 2014, but looks to bounce back and find a role on the defense. He's someone not too many know about, and could step up and provide the defense with valuable reps.

Corners

Cam Denson/Devin Holiday/Kwesi Mashack

Cam Denson seems to be the number one corner for Arizona. He's athletic and has the speed, just needs to work on his strength when jamming his receiver on man-to-man. He did get beat a number of times last year on the long ball, with many teams attacking the true freshman. He's a guy who I think will have a breakout season. Devin Holiday got a lot of good looks in the spring game and was even out there on first team. He's a guy who could see a big supporting role at corner. Kwesi Mashack is someone coaches seemed to like this spring. He's a feisty, little guy, but he knows how to play smart in coverage. I expect him to be someone to step up for a few drives per game.

Jarvis McCall/DaVonte' Neal

Jarvis was battling an injury all spring long and was held out from contact drills. He has the most experience of all the corners and can continue to learn in his starting role. DaVonte' has made the switch from receiver to corner and it looks to be paying off for him already. Going from a crowded wide receiver group to a secondary lacking depth, he could come up with some big plays this season for Arizona.

Safeties

William Parks/Anthony Lopez

The leader of the secondary, Will Parks, will be asked to do a lot. He'll be in his natural habitat at the spur position, which will allow him to roam the field freely and blitz. This is a big year for Parks, as he could be NFL-bound given a solid outing in his senior year. Anthony Lopez proved to be a dependable safety last year, coming up with some big time tackles in the open field.

Jamar Allah/Devon Brewer

Jamar received high praise from Rich Rod this spring, saying that he was stepping up as a leader for the secondary. He should be able to fill in at the free safety spot in place of Jourdan Grandon. Learning behind him will be early enrollee Devon Brewer, who saw a lot of action in the spring game and also received high praise from the coaches.

Tellas Jones/Paul Magloire

The big hitting duo of Tellas Jones and Paul Magloire will hold down the bandit position. Many receivers say that Tellas is the hardest-hitting defensive back on the team, with Paul Magloire probably not too far behind him. Both are built like linebackers and will make natural plays on the ball, jarring a few balls lose after a hit.