A quarterback change midway through the season, necessitated by injury, was a big key to Arizona’s breakout year and its presence in the Alamo Bowl. And now that Noah Fifita is firmly entrenched as the Wildcats’ starter, his backup is looking for another opportunity to play.
Jayden de Laura announced Monday he intends to re-enter the NCAA transfer portal, though he will remain with the UA through Thursday’s Alamo Bowl against Oklahoma.
De Laura cited the recent NCAA decision to stop enforcing the two-time transfer rule, which called for players having to sit out a year after a second transfer unless they had received their undergraduate degrees or received a waiver. De Laura, who is in his fourth year of college, is set to graduate in May and has one season of eligibility remaining.
“The opportunity to return as a starter, while also getting my degree, is something I must explore,” de Laura wrote.
A transfer from Washington State, De Laura has played in 20 games for Arizona, starting all 12 last year and the first four of the 2023 season. He injured his right ankle on the final play of the third quarter at Stanford, opening the door for Fifita to step in and play his way not only into the starting job but Pac-12 Offensive Freshman of the Year honors.
De Laura’s status with the team became a cause for controversy last spring when it was revealed he was the subject of a civil lawsuit in Hawaii stemming from an alleged sexual assault by he and a high school teammate against a classmate. The UA announced in May he would remain with the team, and he spoke briefly about the allegations at Pac-12 Football Media Day in July.
“There’s nothing I would like to do but clear my name, if I could, defend myself from what’s been written,” he said. “However, I hope you understand that, I’m bound by the law to not discuss this matter at all. And I just do not intend to break the law.”
In his time with the UA, de Laura has thrown for 4,805 yards and 35 yards with 18 interceptions, adding seven rushing TDs. Including two seasons at WSU he has 8,489 passing yards with 63 TDs through the air and 12 on the ground, winning Pac-12 Offensive Freshman of the Year in 2021.
With his departure, Arizona will have three scholarship quarterbacks on the roster in the spring: Fifita, who will be a redshirt sophomore, as well as redshirt freshman Brayden Dorman and true freshman Demond Williams Jr.