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CATCH UP ON THE COUNTDOWN BY VISITING: ARIZONA’S TOP 100 INDIVIDUAL RECORDS
Only 35 days — five weeks from today — separate us from the start of Rich Rodriguez’s fifth season, when the Arizona Wildcats football team plays Brigham Young on Sept. 3 at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.
As is customary on this Web site, we will count down the days with an interesting element associated with each day. This year the topic is the top 100 individual records in Arizona’s storied football past.
In past years, we have counted down the top games and highlighted players and some of the top plays in Arizona Wildcats football history. A couple of years ago in our top 100 countdown, we showcased the 1914 team that was responsible for Arizona becoming the “Wildcats”.
Back to this year’s countdown of the top 100 individual records in the 117 years of Arizona football:
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Mark Jacobs picked up at Arizona from where he left off at Flowing Wells in terms of being a superior tackler, tallying an unofficial school-record 200 stops as a sophomore in 1974.
TOP ARIZONA SEASON TACKLE LEADERS
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Most Tackles, Season: 200, Mark Jacobs, LB, 1974
Pac-12 record: 219, Michael Jackson, LB, Washington, 1977
NCAA record: 193, Lawrence Flugence, LB, Texas Tech, 2002 (Note: The NCAA did not officially begin collecting defensive stats until 2000)
Scooby Wright has the most tackles in a season at Arizona (163 in 2014) since the NCAA officially began to collect defensive stats in 2000.
The Arizona record book does not officially list the category for most tackles in a season. It does list the annual tackling leaders since 1975 and notes that until 1987 the tackles listed were from observation of “coaches film”.
The NCAA did not officially begin to collect defensive statistics until 2000, believe it or not.
So a way to look at it: Former Flowing Wells star linebacker Mark Jacobs unofficially holds the Arizona record with 200 tackles, achieved as a sophomore in 1974, while Scooby Wright has the most in the eyes of the NCAA with 163 in 2014, Wright’s junior season. Only 20 players in the NCAA have recorded more tackles than Wright in a season since 2000.
Jacobs supposedly had more tackles than what the NCAA lists as the record-holder today: Texas Tech’s Lawrence Flugence with 193 in 2002.
The Pac-12 record book mentions former Washington linebacker Michael Jackson has the conference record with 219 tackles in 1977. Wright’s total two years ago is tied with Washington’s Mason Foster for the most in the Pac-12 since 2000. Foster achieved 163 tackles in 2010.
A noticeable drop-off exists with tackles for Arizona standouts since 1987. At that time, from 1973 to 1987, the leading tackler for the Wildcats had more than 100 tackles each season. That’s 15 players in consecutive years. Since 1988, only 10 players have reached the century mark.
Therefore, the validity of the coaches film comes into question. Nevertheless, the numbers are still posted in the Arizona record book and Jacobs is listed as the only player to reach 200.
Former Arizona head coach Larry Smith was the defensive coordinator under Jim Young in 1974. Smith was quoted as saying by the Tucson Citizen of Jacobs that season: “He is a very intense person and doesn’t accept second-best. Mark is the type of person you don’t find very often. I really believe he has a sixth sense when it comes to football. He has great football savvy and can adjust quickly to any situation on the field.”
ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.