Arizona Wildcats 2018 countdown to kickoff: 87 days

We now stand at 87 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 87th day ’til kickoff, the best player to wear No. 87 for Arizona? That would be linebacker Chris Singleton, who played for the Wildcats from 1986 to 1989. Leader of late 1980s defenses went eighth overall in 1990 draft, second-highest ever for an Arizona player.

He supplied bone marrow to his twin brother Kevin, who was stricken by Leukemia while at Arizona.

Chris Singleton was drafted as the eighth player overall taken in the 1990 draft by the New England Patriots (Arizona Athletics photo)

A two-time All-Pac-10 first-team selection, Chris Singleton had 10 sacks and 21 tackles for loss a senior. He also broke up five passes, forced two fumbles and recovered one.

He now resides in Ahwatukee and is a territory business manager for the pharmaceutical company Purdue Pharma L.P.

A look ahead

Sumlin is not being shy in the recruiting process, going against big boys Georgia, Nebraska, Oregon, Texas, UCLA and USC for a four-star junior college defensive end in the Class of 2019.

Sumlin and the coaching staff hosted Jermaine Johnson II, of Independence (Kansas) Community College for an unofficial visit yesterday. Johnson posted this tweet from Arizona Stadium:

Johnson, offered a scholarship last month by Sumlin, is ranked as the No. 2 defensive end, fourth overall among JuCo recruits, by 247Sports. Johnson had 27 tackles and eight sacks last season. Five of the sacks happened in one game.

Johnson offered this philosophical tweet last night after his visit: “It’s important to have confidence in yourself and to know what you’re capable of because if you don’t, some people will try to knock you down and keep you down so that you can’t reach your greatness that even they can see.”

They tweeted it

Actually, I tweeted this after hearing the interview of Arizona athletic director Dave Heeke on Wildcats Sports Radio 1290-AM yesterday. More marching band music can only help the atmosphere at Arizona Stadium:

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