Kevin Sumlin brought in 21 players in the 2019 recruiting class, his first full recruiting cycle as head coach.
Last season was the first where college coaches could utilize a player in four games without burning their redshirt status. It allows for many players to get valuable in-game experience while the staff can evaluate true progression, while enabling them to preserve their eligibility.
For the 2018 class, Sumlin used up a year of eligibility on five 2019 signees: cornerback McKenzie Barnes, safeties Christian Young and Day Day Coleman, offensive tackle Donovan Laie and junior college defensive tackle PJ Johnson. All with the exception of Coleman started throughout the season at one point.
Several other first-year players saw action, including quarterback Jamarye Joiner and wide receivers Tre Adams and Thomas Marcus, but because they played in fewer than five games they still got redshirted.
Now we’ll go ahead and take a stab at the 2020 class and see which players will likely be redshirting and which ones will get a crack at playing a rotational role.
WR Jalen Curry: There is absolutely no way Curry is eligible for a redshirt by the sixth game of the season unless he gets injured.
QB Grant Gunnell: The redshirt rule is perfect for quarterbacks to try to get a sniff of the action. There’s a real chance Gunnell could win the No. 2 job should Khalil Tate go down for some time. But if Tate goes down for a series or even multiple series, it’s hard to imagine that the staff will mismanage and jeopardize Gunnell’s redshirt status.
DT Myles Tapusoa: A junior college transfer, Tapusoa missed a good portion of spring due to injury which could be a concern as Arizona grinds through the season, but with the current state of the defensive line he will easily own a large load of snaps barring injury.
OG Josh Donovan: It would be shocking if the JUCO transfer did not start.
OT Paiton Fears: Like his fellow JUCO, Donovan, he will be starting this season and it will be a shock if anything changes.
DT Trevon Mason: Like Tapusoa, there’s just too little depth on the line for him not to play. While he was not on campus this spring, the JUCO transfer will likely earn a heavy role if not a starting one in the fall.
CB Maurice Gaines: Gaines arrived on campus this spring but with some of the returning guys, and the way fellow freshman Christopher Roland-Wallace performed this spring, it would take quite a few injuries for Gaines to have to play in more than four games.
CB/S Bobby Wolfe: Arizona listed him as a safety when he signed, but that group is already so talented. He could play corner or safety and he’ll find a role early and being to emerge as a co-starter as the season goes on no matter where he plays. He is too talented to not play.
DE Kwabena Watson: There are a lot of edge players on the roster and Watson could get into a few games later in the season but I’m not sure he’s someone Arizona needs to rush into action.
S Jaxen Turner: My favorite commit of the 2019 class, but as mentioned with Wolfe the safety position is deep. Perhaps Arizona uses Turner as a special teamer and key reserve if he climbs the depth chart in the fall, similar to that of Barnes last year, but a redshirt seems smart
CB Christopher Roland-Wallace: After coming off a stellar spring, it would be difficult to imagine Roland-Wallace doesn’t play more than four games this season. He’ll likely be contributing the entire year, with a chance to feature as the return man on special teams.
WR Jalen Johnson: This is an interesting one, as he has a shot to come out firing given the inexperience at wide receiver. For now I’d say he still redshirts but he could be a starting rotation receiver early on.
OG Jamari Williams: Arizona has a lot of flexibility at guard and there isn’t any rush to play Williams. While he will likely be a starter in the coming seasons, a redshirt seems likely here.
DT Kane Bradford: The staff is very high on Bradford and although he will need to bulk up his 275-pound, the lack of interior linemen could potentially force him into the lineup with an injury. He could still use development so I’ll go keep his redshirt, but there’s a real chance he plays out of need.
RB Michael Wiley: There are just too many backs that are ahead of him right now and it’s hard to imagine he blows the depth chart up. It’ll be interesting to see if he is ahead of Nathan Tilford, but he’ll likely redshirt. Still, he could get some valuable touches much like Darrius Smith did last season as a true freshman.
OT Jordan Morgan: While Arizona’s tackles are thin, Morgan could definitely use a redshirt season to bulk up and develop.
LB Derrion Clark: Middle linebacker is thin but with Colin Schooler playing almost every snap, I don’t see Clark able to put in much work with Coleman transitioning as the backup.
STUD Eddie Siaumau: There’s so much versatility here as there are options at end, stud, weak side and spur, but ultimately I think Siaumau redshirts. The fact that he can flex into a few positions gives him a good chance to break out of it.
P Kyle Ostendorp: Arizona needs him to step up as the starting punter. While Matt Aragon and freshman walk-on Cameron Weinberg will be competing, Ostendorp appears to have the most powerful leg, making him the starting punter.
DT Kyon Barrs: The late commitment of the class who has a whole lot of upside. The interior is thin and he has a lot to like about his game. With the last prediction I’ll go ahead and take a risk and say he will not redshirt. He seems further along than Bradford and Arizona needs help inside.
WR Jaiden Mitchell: There was a lot of high praise for Mitchell and it seems likely that he’ll be in the rotation as a slot guy.