Of all the things that went wrong for Arizona last season, and the list was long, quarterback play was no doubt No. 1. At no point during a 1-11 campaign did the Wildcats’ situation at that key position ever feel comfortable, in fact it was probably a big contributor to how much Jedd Fisch aged during his first season as a head coach.
Things are looking up at QB with Arizona adding Washington State transfer Jayden de Laura and signing 3-star prospect Noah Fifita, so much so that Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News believes the UA’s situation is in the top half of the Pac-12 in terms of “comforta” at the position.
Wilner has ranked the Wildcats fourth in his twice-annual “Quarterback Comfort Quotient” rankings, which were released Monday. The UA is behind USC, UCLA and Utah and just ahead of the Oregon schools.
Here’s what he had to say about Arizona:
The Wildcats were a complete mess last season but enter ’22 with depth that most other teams would love. de Laura played at an all-conference level for the Cougars and should make a smooth adjustment to Arizona’s system, while (Jordan) McCloud stands as one of the top backups in the conference. He was just getting comfortable—and providing Arizona with a viable option—when he suffered a season-ending leg injury.
The status of McCloud and Gunner Cruz, who also suffered a season-ending injury last season, is uncertain as Arizona gets set to begin spring practice on March 4, leaving de Laura, Fifita and Will Plummer, who ended up starting seven games in 2021, as the only healthy QBs as of now. But that’s still one more than the UA had entering spring ball last year, and if both McCloud and Cruz get back to 100 percent (and neither transfers, which is unlikely) this could be Arizona’s deepest pool at the position in years.