A few Pac-12 coaches spoke anonymously to Athlon Sports about other teams in the conference, and one of them was extremely impressed by Arizona Wildcats defensive end/linebacker Kylan Wilborn last season.
“I thought Kylan Wilborn was one of the best defensive players in our league last year. He kind of came out of nowhere. Those are the best kind of recruits. You see the potential, and then it develops into something completely out of the ordinary. He’s not the biggest guy. But he’s got such a quick first step, he’s hard to block. They better get some help for him, because they couldn’t tackle anyone last year. It was YAC (yards after catch/contact) for days last year against them.”
Wilborn was undoubtedly a bright spot for Arizona’s porous defense, racking up 7.5 sacks and four forced fumbles, leading the team in both categories, despite being a true freshman.
And that Pac-12 coach is right when he said Wilborn “kind of came out of nowhere.”
The Northridge, California native was a low three-star recruit out of high school, and only had offers from Arizona, Hawaii, and Idaho, per 247Sports.
Still, Arizona allowed 34.4 points per game last season, which ranked 109th (of 130) in the country, and will have to improve sizably in that department to improve on last year’s 7-6 record.
But returning Wilborn, two Freshman All-American linebackers in Colin Schooler and Tony Fields II, and a stout cornerback like Jace Whittaker makes that a realistic goal.