Waldrop, Wells Arizona’s best shutdown interior defensive linemen



All-Pac-10/12 Team
Preseason Picks

The Arizona football team begins its 2013 season against Northern Arizona at Arizona Stadium on Aug. 30, which is 86 days away. From now until then, this Web site will count down the days with facts about the Wildcats, their players, coaching staff and opponents. This is not a ranking, only a list of 100 facts and observances related to the 2013 Arizona football team and coach Rich Rodriguez.

Dana Wells is Arizona's only two-time Morris Trophy Award winner (YouTube video, click on picture to access video)

Dana Wells is Arizona’s only two-time Morris Trophy Award winner (YouTube video, click on picture to access video)

Dana Wells and Rob Waldrop both lined up at nose guard for Arizona and received the highest accolades the Pac-10 had to offer when they played. That makes it difficult to determine which should be added to the Wildcats’ All-Pac-10/12 team in history.

Thankfully, Waldrop was listed as a defensive tackle his senior season in 1993. That means Wells and Waldrop can both make the team. They are two of the most dominant interior defensive linemen in UA history. The UA’s All-Pac-10/12 team at this site now has these players in the middle defensively — middle linebacker Ricky Hunley, Wells at nose guard and Waldrop at tackle.

Try to run it up the gut on those guys.

Wells was the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year in 1988. Waldrop earned the same honor in 1993 as a defensive tackle, one year after he was selected the league’s Morris Trophy as a nose guard. The Morris Trophy goes to the top lineman in the league as voted by opposing linemen.

Wells won the Morris Trophy twice — the only Wildcat to achieve that honor — in 1987 and 1988. Interesting to note: Wells and center Joe Tofflemire were awarded the Morris Trophy in 1988. Watching Wells and Tofflemire go at it on opposite sides of the line in practice must have been a sight to behold.


Since the Morris Trophy was first presented in 1980, only four sets of teammates, including Wells and Tofflemire, have won the award in the same year. The others (defensive player listed first) are George Achica and Bruce Matthews of USC in 1982, Steve Emtman and Lincoln Kennedy of Washington in 1991, and Sedrick Ellis and Ryan Kalil of USC in 2006.

Wells is one of only seven players to win the award twice.

Waldrop’s trophy case is equally loaded.

A 2011 College Football Hall of Fame inductee, Waldrop was a two-time consensus All-American during his junior and senior seasons and earned the Outland Trophy in 1993 as the country’s top interior lineman. He was voted the Top Defensive Player of the Year by the Football Writers of America (now called the Bronko Nagurski award).

During his senior season, Waldrop recorded 53 total tackles, 14 for losses, including 10 sacks, which is fascinating for an interior lineman.

Wells led the Wildcats with 35 tackles for lost yardage in 1987 and 1988. He had a team-leading seven sacks in 1987.


Dana Wells (85-88)
Rob Waldrop (90-93)
Ivan Lesnik (80-83)
Joe Drake (81-84)
Chuck Osborne (92-95)

Rob Waldrop (90-93)
Joe Salave’a (94-97)
Cleveland Crosby (78-79)
David Wood (81-84)
Anthony Smith (89)

Joe Tofflemire (85-88)
Bruce Wiggins (97-00)
Colin Baxter (07-10)
Kyle Quinn (09-12)
Keoki Fraser (01-04)

* * * * *

The best No. 86 to wear the Arizona uniform? Anthony Gimino of TucsonCitizen.com gives former Sunnyside High School player Jon Horton that distinction. Horton had 136 receptions for 2,415 yards in his career from 1983-86. He also had 16 touchdown receptions.

WILDABOUTAZCATS.net publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He also writes blogs for Lindy’s College Sports, TucsonCitizen.com and Sports Illustrated-sponsored site ZonaZealots.com.


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