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CATCH UP ON THE COUNTDOWN BY VISITING: ARIZONA’S TOP 100 INDIVIDUAL RECORDS
Only 24 days 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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Middle linebacker Scooby Wright’s 29 tackles for lost yardage in 2014 tied the school-record mark set in 1968 by defensive tackle Tom Nelson.
ARIZONA TACKLES FOR LOSS SEASON
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Most tackles for lost yardage, season: 29, Scooby Wright III, 2014; Tom Nelson, 1968
Pac-12 record: 31.5, Terrell Suggs, ASU, 2002
NCAA record: 32, Jason Babin, Western Michigan, 2003
Arizona Republic photo of Tom Nelson, who hailed from ASU country in Tempe, was dubbed Arizona’s “Ace Tackle”
It took 46 long years for somebody to match Tom Nelson’s school-record 29 tackles for lost yardage, and that person was Scooby Wright III, the consensus defensive player of the year nationally.
Tedy Bruschi, a College Football Hall of Fame inductee, came close in 1993 with 27.5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage.
Nelson, listed at 6-foot and 225 pounds at tackle, was selected a third-team All-American in 1968. He was also named the WAC’s defensive player of the year.
“If there ever was an All-American football player at Arizona, we’ve got one now,” defensive line coach Royal (Sharkey) Price told the Arizona Republic late in the 1968 season.
Nelson became Arizona’s fifth All-American that season, the first since quarterback Eddie Wilson was a third-team selection in 1961. He was Arizona’s first All-American on the defensive side of the ball.
Wright was a unanimous first-team All-American for his exploits in 2014.
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.