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Arizona football notebook: Wildcats name 8 captains, backup DE no longer on roster

arizona-wildcats-football-captains-harris-irby-manu-delaura-wiley-cowing-morgan-stukes-maldonado Arizona Athletics

Going into his first season as head coach, Jedd Fisch named six veterans that he inherited to be Arizona’s captains. Last year, the five captains chosen were a mix of new and old, with transfer quarterback Jalen de Laura joining four upperclassmen.

For 2023, the Wildcats’ captains are the most diverse—and largest—group yet.

The UA has chosen eight captains for this season, four on offense and four on defense. The offensive captains are de Laura, running back Mike Wiley, wide receiver Jacob Cowing and offensive lineman Jordan Morgan, while on defense it’s linebacker Jacob Manu, cornerbacks Treydan Stukes and Martell Irby and safety Gunner Maldonado.

De Laura and Morgan are repeat choices, while Manu is the first true sophomore picked as an Arizona captain since Colin Schooler in 2018.

The most surprising choice is Irby, both because he’s not expected to start—he’ll be Stukes’ backup at nickel corner—but also because he’s a walk-on. The transfer from UCLA sat out the 2022 season and appeared retired from football before making a comeback, opting to pay his own way for one final season.

It’s not known if all eight players will participate in the pre-game coin toss before every contest, but odds are the entire octet will be out there for the season opener Sept. 2 vs. NAU.

Jason Harris no longer listed on online roster

Arizona missed out on landing Jason Harris out of Gilbert’s Higley High School in the 2020 recruiting class, but after one season at Colorado the younger brother of former UA defensive end Jalen Harris decided to join his sibling in Tucson.

Jalen Harris has moved on, currently fighting to make the Chicago Bears’ roster as an undrafted rookie free agent, and Jason appears to be leaving the UA as well. He is no longer listed on Arizona’s online roster, and the link to his page brings up an error message.

The 6-foot-7, 265-pound defensive end did not appear in a game with the Wildcats in 2021 or 2022, nor did he play for the Buffaloes in the COVID-shortened 2020 season. He was a 4-star prospect in the 2020 class, ranked by 247Sports as the No. 289 player in the country and the 8th-player recruit from Arizona.

He was going to be hard-pressed to get playing time this season, at least on defense, as Arizona added six defensive line transfers including two veteran edge rushers. Harris took some snaps in Saturday’s “first look” scrimmage with the third defensive unit.