Arizona Wildcats 2018 countdown to kickoff: 81 days

We now stand at 81 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) 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 81st day until kickoff, the best player to wear No. 81 for Arizona? That would be wide receiver Brad Anderson, who became quarterback Tom Tunnicliffe’s favorite target after transferring from BYU (playing from 1981 to 1983 with the Wildcats). He earned All-Pac-10 honors in 1983 and finished his career with 97 receptions for 1,789 yards and eight touchdowns. He played for the 1985 Super Bowl champion Chicago Bears. His highlight play for Arizona was a 65-yard TD reception against ASU in 1982, helping the Wildcats keep the Sun Devils from the Rose Bowl. Tunnicliffe read the ASU blitz and completed the pass to Anderson in one-on-one coverage and Anderson raced to the end zone (at 1:46 of the following video).

Anderson now resides in Paradise Valley and is the vice president of CBRE Group, Inc., a commercial real estate services and investment firm. According to the CBRE Web site, since Anderson began his career with CBRE in 1987, Anderson has completed over 3,500 transactions (for more than 25 million square feet, with an aggregate value exceeding $6 billion), ranking him among the firm’s highest achievers.

A look ahead

In case you missed it, redshirt sophomore defensive end Francisco Nelson III announced Sunday he is transferring to FCS school Campbell University in Buies Creek, N.C. Nelson was not going to fit into Sumlin’s program after redshirting in 2016 and not registering any stats last season.

Only junior Justin Belknap and sophomore Kylan Wilborn (who also plays linebacker at the stud position) return from Arizona’s defensive end three-deep depth chart from the end of last season. Trevor Wood announced he would transfer, Larry Tharpe Jr. entered the NFL draft forgoing his senior season (and was not selected) and DeAndre’ Miller exhausted his eligibility.

They tweeted it

Sumlin is hoping Mr. October Khalil Tate also becomes Mr. August, Mr. September, Mr. November, Mr. December and — biggest hope — Mr. January …

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