This is the ninth 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: special teams.
Returning Starters: Lucas Havrisik (PK), JJ Taylor (KR)
Backups: Donald Reiter (LS), Matt Aragon (P)
Key Departures: Josh Pollack (PK), Dylan Klumph (P), Nick Reinhardt (LS), Shun Brown (PR)
New Additions: Kyle Ostendorp (P), Cameron Weinberg (P), Seth MacKeller (LS), Nathan Halsell (K)
Arizona’s special teams have been a bit of a roller coaster over the last few seasons. In Jeremy Springer’s second year with the program they group will look to make a seamless transition without some of their key players from a year ago.
We’ll start with Lucas Havrisik, who will likely have kickoff and field goal duties to himself in 2019. Havrisik has a huge leg to get the ball through the end zone on kickoffs, but struggled a bit on longer field goal attempts last season.
To be fair, the field goal situation was a bit of a mess, as Springer would rotate between Havrisik and Pollack with no rhyme or reason it seemed. That can certainly mess with the psyche of a kicker.
Nathan Halsell announced his decision to walk-on to the program. He’ll join the team in the summer, so for now it’s all Havrisik.
Donald Reiter is entering his fourth year in the program, and will be looking to lock down the starting long snapper role. Arizona will be adding Seth MacKeller to the long snapping mix, who announced his decision to walk-on upon high school graduation.
Gone is graduate transfer punter Dylan Klumph, who was a much needed improvement from the 2017 season.
Matt Aragon is the lone punter who is currently on the roster, and will likely be getting all the reps this spring. It’s his job to lose until the newcomers arrive to campus.
One of Springer’s first offers was to punter Kyle Ostendorp, however he will not be on campus until the summer. Arizona also added a walk-on punter Cameron Weinberg, who will compete for the starting spot in the fall as well.
In the punt return game Shun Brown was electric. Now without him, it’s unclear who Arizona will throw back there, as Tony Ellison was usually the second designated return man.
There are probably about five guys on the roster who could reutrn punts right now, and it’s a big spring for someone to separate themselves.
The kick returning group is led by J.J. Taylor, Gary Brightwell, Cedric Peterson and Stanley Berryhill were all listed as returners, and all return. Perhaps a mid-year enrollee can jump into the mix, but this seems like a pretty solid group.
You have a strong leg in Havrisik, who will need to find some balance should he continue to handle kickoff and field goal duties.
The punting situation is a bit terrifying, but between full reps with Aragon or a fresh leg coming into the summer it could be worse, I think.
Arizona has plenty of athletes for the return game, too.
It’s not a group to panic on, yet. But things could get dicey mid-season.
What condition are Arizona’s special teams
This poll is closed
Other position previews
- What condition are Arizona’s quarterbacks in heading into spring practice?
- What condition is Arizona’s defensive line in heading into spring practice?
- What condition are Arizona’s cornerbacks in heading into spring practice?
- What condition are Arizona’s running backs in heading into spring practice?
- What condition are Arizona’s tight ends in heading into spring practice?
- What condition are Arizona’s safeties in heading into spring practice?
- What condition is Arizona’s offensive line in heading into spring practice?
- What condition are Arizona’s linebackers in heading into spring practice?
- What condition are Arizona’s wide receivers in heading into spring practice?