We now stand at 86 days — into the third week of the countdown — 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) and also the 20th anniversary of the 1998 team with the best record in school history, 12-1, and the 25th anniversary of the 1993 team that went 10-2 with a win over Miami in the Fiesta Bowl.
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.
To catch up on the countdown click on this: Arizona Wildcats 2018 countdown to kickoff.
A look back
— With it being the 86th day ’til kickoff, the best player to wear No. 86 for Arizona? That would be wide receiver Jon Horton, a native Tucsonan who played for the Wildcats from 1983 to 1986. He is a Sunnyside High School grad who ranks 10th in career catches (136) and sixth in receiving yards (2,415) in Wildcat history.
Horton’s professional career led him to the World Football League, and that impacted his life, career away from football and his future. He runs his own personal training business in the Netherlands. Here is a picture of him promoting that line of work (notice the Arizona football helmet on his right pectoral muscle).
A look ahead
No. 86 for Arizona this season will include an offensive player and defensive player — walkon redshirt freshman wide receiver Stanley Berryhill III and junior defensive end Justin Belknap.
My goal for 2018 is to Earn a scholarship🤐🐻⬇️
Berryhill is a familiar name in Tucson having starred at Marana Mountain View for three years before transferring to Orange Lutheran (Calif.) his senior season in 2016. He is the son of former Cholla and Arizona player Stanley Berryhill, a phenomenal athlete in his prime who continues to help train his son.
Belknap is a former walkon who earned a scholarship after spring practice last year after he played in all 12 games, starting 11 of them, in 2016. In his 24 games played to this point, 23 of them starts, he has 35 tackles, 5.5 for lost yardage. He had one of Arizona’s five fumble recoveries last season.
They tweeted it
Some Twitter reaction to Sumlin and Arizona landing a commitment from high-profile 4-star quarterback Grant Gunnell of Houston yesterday:
I promised Grant Gunnell I wouldn’t post this until after he announced his commitment but he’s known for a little while now where he was going to play his college football. His connection with Noel Mazzone is very strong. pic.twitter.com/SZfjouAmtL
Khalil Tate is obviously the quarterback for Arizona, but once he is gone the competition between Grant Gunnell and Kevin Doyle is going to be as high quality as it gets at Arizona
New Arizona commit Grant Gunnell has a lot of good teammates at St. Pius X and knows a lot of good players in Texas. This won’t be the last day he makes an impact on Arizona’s recruiting class
Think about this for a QB room:
Khalil Tate (if he doesn’t declare for the NFL)
#Arizona landed arguably its top target in the 2019 recruiting cycle tonight in Top247 QB Grant Gunnell who has thrown for close to 5,000 yards and over 60 TDs in each of the last two seasons for Houston St. Pius X: https://t.co/Pu0ddYriXL @JasonScheer
Should Grant Gunnell retain his spot at No. 70 on the Rivals100 list and ultimately sign with Arizona he would be the highest-rated signee to join the Wildcats out of high school in nearly a decade