Grant Gunnell will head into the 2020 season as the starting quarterback for the Arizona Wildcats. This much is a given.
How things pan out after that is anyone’s guess, including that of coach Kevin Sumlin.
Sumlin confirmed Friday, during his press conference to discuss the first half of Arizona’s 2020 recruiting class, that Gunnell would “start off and be number one” when the Wildcats return to the field in a few months for spring practice.
“Obviously Grant has the upper hand because he played, he started games, he’s won games,” Sumlin said. “So I think it starts there and then everybody else is really in a competition to see where they are. Competition is a coach’s best friend but there’s no doubt with Grant how much he’s played and won the games that he started.”
It’s what the pecking order will be for Arizona’s other QBs that will be determined in spring ball and into the summer.
As it stands, Arizona has four scholarship quarterbacks on the roster. That includes Will Plummer, a 3-star prospect the Wildcats signed on Wednesday. The Phoenix-area product is expected to enroll in January.
The other passers are Rhett Rodriguez and Kevin Doyle. Rodriguez appeared in just one game in 2019 as a junior, leaving open the ability for him to redshirt and still have two years of eligibility, while Doyle (who will be a redshirt sophomore in 2020) has yet to see the field in his two college seasons.
And while Rodriguez saw plenty of action in 2017-18, including starting for an injured Khalil Tate at UCLA in October 2018, the door is open for Plummer to see playing time right away as a true freshman.
“He is a physical guy that can run and just loves to play,” Sumlin said of the 6-foot-2, 205-pound Plummer, who also played linebacker and tight end earlier in his career at Gilbert High School. “His high school tape from his junior year, sophomore year was him playing a little bit of everything and being pretty good at it and not shying away from contact. He’s a smart guy and loves to play football. That what was really impressed me before he even got to really start at quarterback.”
Arizona has started at least two different QBs every year since 2015, either because of injury or performance. Anu Solomon in 2014 was the last Wildcat to start every game in a season at the position.