With fall practice still about three weeks away, the projected Arizona Wildcats back field found itself on a couple of award watch lists on Thursday.
Anu Solomon was named to the Davey O’Brien Award watch list (best quarterback), while Nick Wilson found himself on the Doak Walker Award watch list (best running back).
Solomon is also on the Maxwell Award watch list, which is given to the best player in the country. The two watch lists are primarily a result of being a third-year starting quarterback at a Power Five school, but on Thursday, Rich Rodriguez reiterated that the redshirt junior will have to earn his playing time this year.
"Okay, our quarterback situation, we have in my opinion two returning starters. One that's more established in Anu Solomon, really good player, particularly when he's healthy. Last year he had some injuries. But he's got a challenge with Brandon Dawkins who played a little bit at the end of the year, has gotten better.
So I think we're in a good situation where we have two guys competing for the starting job. We've got a young guy Khalil Tate who's got on outstanding future, we think, and we're recruiting well at that position. But Solomon, Dawkins will go into camp splitting first-team reps, and we'll see who wins the job. I hope both of them prove that we can win with them and we'll play both of them throughout the year.
I'm not typical where I think you've got to name a starter. We treat the quarterback position pretty much like the rest of them. Just compete and play the best guy at the time."
On the other hand, we’ve seen what Wilson can do when healthy. But that remains the biggest question mark about the junior running back heading into 2016. If he’s able to stay on the field for the entire season, we should see some big numbers from him, especially with an offensive line that should be improved from last year.
Wilson’s joined by just about every running back in the country on the Doak’s watch list though:
These watch lists have lost their damn minds. I believe there are 73 RBs on the Doak Walker list. C'mon man!!!!!— Jim Weber (@JimMWeber) July 15, 2016
Arizona opens the season with the Cactus Kickoff on September 3rd against BYU in Glendale.
Things just got real. The #CactusKickoff has an official logo. Kickoff in 50 days!#BearDown #PHXisWildcatCountry pic.twitter.com/uuXnK8wghV— Arizona Athletics (@AZATHLETICS) July 15, 2016