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What condition are Arizona’s linebackers in heading into spring practice?

An extremely top heavy group for Arizona

arizona-wildcats-college-football-spring-practice-position-preview-linebackers-colin-schooler-fields Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

This is the seventh in a series of reports in which we try to determine if the Arizona Wildcats’ position groups are in strong, stable, unstable, serious or critical condition heading into spring ball, which begins Monday. Next up: linebackers.

Returning Starters: Colin Schooler, Tony Fields, Jalen Harris

Backups: Kylan Wilborn, Anthony Pandy, Issaiah Johnson, Lee Anderson

New Additions: Derrion Clark, Kwabena Watson, Eddie Siaumau

Key Departures: Jacob Colacion

The linebacker group is extremely top-heavy, but the depth here isn’t quite where you want it to be.

Arizona returns two all-conference caliber linebackers in Colin Schooler and Tony Fields for their junior campaigns, and they’ll serve as the anchors of the defense.

They also bring back an emerging star within the program is Jalen Harris, who has quickly taken over the stud position. There’s a lot of depth at stud, but he’ll likely have his spot secured this spring.

Middle linebacker depth is an issue, where the group will be out without Jacob Colacion, who has medically retired. That leaves a redshirt freshman, Issaiah Johnson, coming through.

As a big bodied 6-foot-2, 235-pound middle linebacker, Johnson will need a big spring to show that he can provide depth and relief for Schooler. Outside of Johnson, there is no other middle linebacker depth. The staff needs him to come up big.

Lee Anderson is a veteran of the program, and has been moved around a bit. He could step in at middle linebacker, or stay at stud. The spring will be a good time to gauge where the staff feels he’s best.

Kylan Wilborn got a lot of usage when he started as a true freshman in 2017. He’s definitely taken a beating and a bit of a back seat to Harris, but he’s still an incredibly strong talent. He’ll serve as a one-two punch with Harris, providing size to the edge.

At weak-side linebacker we’ll have Anthony Pandy, who is entering his third year in the program. He’s served as the backup to Fields for the past two seasons and will likely continue to take on more action as the season goes on.

Arizona brings in three new guys, however, none are enrolled this semester, which really would have gone a long way to establish depth.

Derrion Clark projects best as an undersized, but speedy middle linebacker. Eddie Siaumau can play a multitude of positions, however he’ll likely be at stud and weak-side backer. Kwabena Watson can play stud or defensive end, both of which are very crowded positions.

Condition: Stable

Arizona cannot afford any injuries and needs a clean off-season at this position.

You have three potential all Pac-12 players at linebacker, there just isn’t any depth. But because it’s a top heavy position that ultimately led me to stable condition. It helps that you know there is stable depth with Wilborn and Pandy as well, there is just no middle linebacker help.

Perhaps Arizona pursues a transfer this off-season to help stabilize the depth.


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