Arizona Wildcats 2018 countdown to kickoff: 86 days

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.

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.

Justin Belknap has started 23 games over the last two years at defensive end for Arizona (Arizona Athletics photo)

They tweeted it

Some Twitter reaction to Sumlin and Arizona landing a commitment from high-profile 4-star quarterback Grant Gunnell of Houston yesterday:

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