Arizona’s defensive line was already going to look a lot different from last season to the upcoming one, but in the past two weeks it’s gone over another makeover. Or better put, an enhancement.
The Wildcats had landed a commitment from graduate transfer defensive end Taylor Upshaw, who spent five seasons at Michigan. Upshaw initially transferred to Colorado in January, but after participating in spring practice with the Buffaloes re-entered the NCAA transfer portal last week.
I’M DESERT BOUND UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA LETS ’S GO TO WORK ❤️ ‼️ @ArizonaFBall— TAYLOR UPSHAW (@TaylorUpshaw91) May 5, 2023
The 6-foot-4, 255-pound Upshaw is the second transfer the UA has added from the portal since spring ball ended, both up front, joining ex-Indiana defensive lineman Sio Nofoagatoto’a. That’s in addition to winter defensive line pickups Tyler Manoa (UCLA), Bill Norton (Georgia) and Orin Patu (Cal).
Upshaw was one of three transfers Arizona had on campus this week for official visits, along with redshirt freshman cornerbacks Tre’Quon Fegans (Alabama) and Jalil Tucker (Oregon).
At Michigan, Upshaw played 38 games including two starts during the COVID-shortened 2020 season. He tallied 36 tackles, 10.5 for loss, with five sacks during his Wolverines career.
Arizona has to replace both starting defensive ends, as Hunter Echols and Jalen Harris exhausted their eligibility and are now each trying to catch on in the NFL as undrafted free agents. The Wildcats also lost defensive tackle Kyon Barrs, who transferred to USC, leaving Ta’ita’i Uiagalelei as the only player from the 2022 team with starting experience at Arizona.
Including Upshaw, Arizona has added nine FBS transfers in the offseason, all on the defensive side as it tries to revamp a unit that was near the bottom in the Pac-12 in almost every statistical category.