We are now only 53 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 53rd day until kickoff, the best player to wear No. 53 for Arizona? That is a tough one. When Anthony Gimino listed the best players by number for the Tucson Citizen in 2012, his best player at No. 53 by default was center Roger Twibell in 1970. Twibell went on to be a national sports broadcaster. He was listed as No. 53 in the 1970 media guide, although he never played because of knee problems. He was also supposed to pitch for the baseball program. Twibell transferred to Kansas to complete his college education. He began his sportscasting career in 1972 at KGUN-TV.
A look ahead
Wearing No. 53 now are two redshirt sophomores who are walk-ons — offensive lineman Jon Jacobs and linebacker Richard Merritt.
It’s true that Khalil Tate had more 50-yard-plus passing plays last year than the New York Jets’ No. 1 draft pick, Sam Darnold of USC.
2017 Pac-12 Football – Passing plays of 50 yards or longer
1. Justin Herbert, UO, 7
Manny Wilkins, ASU, 7
3. Luke Falk, WSU, 6
Steven Montez, CU, 6
5. Josh Rosen, UCLA, 5
6. Ross Bowers, Cal, 4
Jake Browning, UW, 4
Khalil Tate, UA, 4
9. Sam Darnald, USC, 3
They tweeted it
Again carrying on the theme of being bypassed by UCLA and USC — who did not want to recruit him as a quarterback but use him as an athlete instead — Tate tells it like it is.
High school athletes go to a college that NEEDS you, not a college that WANTS you.
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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.