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Linebacker Jerry Roberts announces return to Arizona for 7th college season

arizona-wildcats-football-jerry-roberts-2023-season-redshirt-medical-covid-bowling-green-linebacker Photo by Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images

Jerry Roberts was not one of the 18 players who participated in Arizona’s Senior Day ceremonies ahead of the Territorial Cup win over ASU, and now we know why.

Roberts announced on Twitter that he’s returning to the UA for the 2023 season, which would be his third with the Wildcats and seventh in college.

The 6-foot-2, 230-pound Roberts started all 12 games at linebacker this season for Arizona, finishing second on the team with 78 tackles. He played in nine games for the Wildcats in 2021, his first season with the program following his transfer from Bowling Green, making six starts but missing the finale against ASU after breaking his leg on the first play of the Washington State game the week before.

Roberts spent four years at Bowling Green, but only one ended up counting towards his four years of eligibility. He took a regular redshirt year in 2017, then after appearing in the first four games in 2018 he told AZ Desert Swarm he suffered an injury that qualified him for a medical redshirt.

He played in 16 games with 15 starts from 2019-20, but the COVID-shortened 2020 season didn’t count toward any college football player’s eligibility.

For his career, Roberts has played in 41 games with 33 starts, recording 224 tackles.

Despite Roberts’ return, Arizona is still likely to pursue linebackers in the NCAA transfer portal to ensure it has depth at a critical position. Roberts and freshman Jacob Manu played a combined 1,351 snaps of 1,768 defensive snaps, with Kolbe Cage (322) and Ammon Allen (24) the only other linebackers getting on the field.

The Wildcats’ 2023 recruiting class includes commitments from two linebackers and they’re also hoping to land 4-star LB Leviticus Su’a, who took an official visit to Arizona in June and who was teammates with UA freshman defensive end Ta’ita’i Uiagalelei.