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A look back at Arizona’s senior class before Senior Day

A look back at some of Arizona’s best players over the past four years

Arizona v Oregon Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

When the last snap of the Arizona Wildcats’ game against Utah takes place late Saturday night (or early Sunday morning), their senior class will have played their last game in Tucson. They’ve been through two head coaches, numerous thrilling victories, crushing losses, and plenty of amazing plays.

It wasn’t always smooth sailing, but this senior class has still provided great memories for all Arizona fans in this half-decade.

Here’s a look at the careers of the notable Senior Day participants.

J.J. Taylor, RB

  • Hometown: Corona, CA
  • Notable career stats: 563 attempts, 3,182 rushing yards, 18 TDs

In a decade full of great Arizona running backs, Taylor has earned his place among the best of them. Earlier this week, he announced that he will not return to Arizona next year, and while the loss stings, Taylor has a bright future elsewhere.

Standing at just 5-foot-6-inches, Taylor was able to squeeze through the smallest of holes during his career, and often made the most of those holes. Averaging a healthy 5.7 yards per attempt for his career, he could always be counted on for a burst of a few yards. He won numerous awards, including first team All-Pac-12 and third team All-American in 2018. Also a prolific receiver out of the backfield, he currently has 458 receiving yards, and was Arizona’s kick returner for his career as well.

Taylor will likely be a Day 3 pick in April’s NFL Draft, and could prove to be a hidden gem for whichever teams drafts him. No matter what happens in his NFL career, he’ll be remembered fondly in Tucson for generations.

Lorenzo Burns, CB

  • Hometown: Murrieta, CA
  • Notable career stats: 160 total tackles, 2 sacks, 8 interceptions

Earlier this week, the redshirt junior indicated he would return to Tucson. His return could prove critical for next year’s team, as he has already amassed a nice career for himself. Taking charge of a struggling secondary in his underclassman years, Burns was often covering star receivers, and has done a solid job for all three years he has had that role.

Burns will be the lead member of the secondary again in 2020, and if his past career is any indication, the Wildcats will be good on the back end thanks to him.

Chacho Ulloa, DB

  • Hometown: Corona, CA
  • Notable career stats: 18 total tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, 1 forced fumble

Ulloa played most of his games in an Arizona uniform during his freshman season, providing depth in the secondary all four seasons. He earned second team All-Academic Pac-12 in 2018, and has earned three tackles thus far this season, all against NAU.

Khalil Tate, QB

  • Hometown: Inglewood, CA
  • Notable career stats: 8,254 yards total offense, 73 total touchdowns, 431-for-743 passing

Regardless of how his career ends, even if it’s on the bench, Tate will be remembered fondly as one of the most electrifying players to ever grace Arizona Stadium. Taking over as starting quarterback in October 2017, Tate tore up the college football world in Rich Rodriguez’s final season.

Despite nagging injuries and different coaching schemes in his final two seasons, Tate was still thrilling to watch and created highlight after highlight.There were definitely some frustrations in the latter part of his career, but those are thoroughly outshined by Tate’s accomplishments both on the ground and in the air.

Tristan Cooper, S

  • Hometown: El Paso, TX
  • Notable career stats: 114 total tackles, 5 tackles for loss, 9 passes defensed

One of Arizona’s greatest defensive assets for his entire career, Cooper will be most remembered for a powerful hit he laid on Oregon’s Dillon Mitchell during the 2018 matchup between the two teams. That was just one of his 114 tackles, and plenty of the rest were just as hard. He’ll likely his career with an impressive 46 games played in an Arizona uniform.

Lee Anderson III, DE/LB

  • Hometown: Moreno Valley, CA
  • Notable career stats: 17 total tackles, .5 sacks, 1 pass defensed

Anderson saw a fair amount of time at the stud position in 2017 and 2018, before his role became more diminished this season.

Steven Bailey, OL

  • Hometown: Litchfield Park, AZ
  • Notable career stats: 7 games played

Bailey has provided critical depth on Arizona’s offensive line since coming from NAU through Glendale Community College. He has appeared in three games this season.

Malcolm Holland, DB/WR

  • Hometown: Chandler, AZ
  • Notable career stats: 14 total tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss

Holland played as a reserve cornerback and special teams for all of 2016 and 2017, before being moved to wide receiver. He has not yet seen the field on the offensive side of the ball.

Jace Whittaker, DB

  • Hometown: Oceanside, CA
  • Notable career stats: 148 total tackles, 7 interceptions, 40 passes defensed

Whittaker has seen action in all roles in the secondary. After using his redshirt on an injury-riddled 2018, Whittaker has returned in full this season, with 44 tackles, three interceptions, and a sack to his name. Along with Cooper and Burns, he helped keep Arizona’s back end from being exposed too often for multiple years.

Cedric Peterson, WR

  • Hometown: Moreno Valley, CA
  • Notable career stats: 48 receptions, 716 yards, 8 touchdowns

Virtually the only veteran presence at the position in 2019, Peterson has put in four years of solid contributions catching passes. He has played in every game since his sophomore season began. He’s averaged an impressive 14.9 yards per carry throughout his career.

Matt Aragon, P

  • Hometown: Tucson, AZ
  • Notable career stats: 148 total tackles, 7 interceptions, 40 passes defensed

The hometown punter finally saw some action in his senior season, averaging 38.9 yards per punt in six games.

Cody Creason, OL

  • Hometown: Folsom, CA
  • Notable career stats: 43 games played

Creason hadn’t missed a game until an ankle injury cut his 2019 season short after nine games. Regardless, he provided plenty of protection to multiple Arizona quarterbacks throughout his career, and will be one of Arizona’s most crushing departures over the summer.

Justin Belknap, DE

  • Hometown: Henderson, NV
  • Notable career stats: 52 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks

Belknap has been one of the only ways Arizona has been able to generate pressure in the backfield for most of his career. Despite missing almost all of 2018 with a foot injury, he should finish his career with 38 games played.

Finton Connolly, DL

  • Hometown: Gilbert, AZ
  • Notable career stats: 51 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, 4 sacks

Connolly will have appeared in 44 games when his career in Tucson ends, and he made some kind of positive contribution in most of them. He’ll try to add to his 51 tackles this Saturday against a strong Utah game.