Arizona Wildcats 2018 countdown to kickoff: Kelvin Hunter

We have reached 97 days until the Arizona Wildcats kick off their 2018 season under new coach Kevin Sumlin.

When Arizona hosts BYU on Sept. 1, it will mark the 40th anniversary since the Wildcats joined the Pac-12 (went from the Pac-8 to the Pac-10 then).

To get ready for the upcoming season, All Sports Tucson offers another countdown, which will include memories from former Wildcats, history notes and a look ahead to the season. Think of it as a way to keep Arizona football on the mind in the summer months leading up to fall camp in early August and then kickoff against the Cougars marking the start of the Sumlin Era.

A look back

— With it being the 97th day ’til kickoff, the best player to wear No. 97 for Arizona? That would be defensive tackle Jim Hoffman, a member of the famed Desert Swarm defense from 1991-94. He is tied for sixth in career sacks in school history with 22.5.

Jim Hoffman (97) standing with fellow Desert Swarm members Tedy Bruschi (68), Sean Harris (49( and Rob Waldrop (92) (Arizona Athletics photo)

A look ahead

In case you missed it yesterday, Sumlin landed his third recruit from the Class of 2019 with the commitment of Houston Strake Jesuit Prep running back Michael Wiley, who is listed as a two-star prospect, not a five, but does that matter? Ask Two-Star Scooby Wright. Also, Wiley’s star status should increase after the commitment. Wiley finished his junior season with 154 carries for 1,063 yards and 10 touchdowns. He also caught 20 passes for 205 yards and three touchdowns. After viewing this film of Wiley, it’s obvious what likely impresses Sumlin the most: Wiley’s ability to break tackles and his breakaway speed. Imagine Wiley only getting stronger and faster with enhanced training. Look out.

Former player interview: Kelvin Hunter

Kelvin Hunter was a defensive back for Arizona from 1997 to 1999. He was one of the standouts on defense for the team that went 12-1 in 1998. He now serves as the defensive coordinator for Williams High School in Gilbert.

Kelvin Hunter is second from the right in this picture with new coach Kevin Sumlin. From left to right: Kelvin Eafon, Hunter, Brandon Sanders, Sumlin, Bobby Wade and David Adams (Hunter photo)

Favorite game as a Wildcat?

“My favorite game as a Wildcat is the 1997 ASU game (when Arizona upset the 12th-ranked Sun Devils in Tempe, preventing the rivals from going to the Fiesta Bowl).”

Favorite Wildcat other than yourself?

“My favorite Wildcats are Tedy Bruschi and Chuck Cecil.”

Favorite play in Arizona history?

“My favorite play in Arizona history is the Leap By The Lake (when Ortege Jenkins made the game-winning flip into the endzone at Washington in 1998). That play was one of the single greatest in college sports at that time.”

Embed from Getty Images

Favorite memory about your coach?

“My favorite memory about about Coach (Dick) Tomey is how he genuinely cared about us off the field and his inspirational speeches, especially the one about how the ‘N’ on the Nebraska helmet stood for ‘Not today’ (in the 1998 Holiday Bowl won by Arizona).”

What excites you the most about the upcoming season?

“The thing that excites me the most about this season is seeing what this new staff can do with this young team and watching my friend Marcel Yates and the defense establish themselves.”

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