Arizona Football

Sights and Sounds from Arizona’s Spring Game

Arizona’s annual Spring Game was a hit for the second consecutive year — now if the Wildcats can only build on the excitement of peripheral elements and have it translate on to the field in about five months.

The pomp and circumstance from this year’s Spring Game at Arizona Stadium did not include Rob Gronkowski catching a football dropped from a helicopter leading up to the event but it did have Adia Barnes calling plays, Mike Candrea as a coach looking on to the field intuitively like he did from the third-base coaching box and Sam Thomas making an acrobatic, leaping touchdown reception in the back of the end zone.

Arizona greats Lance Briggs and Tedy Bruschi, who combined for 25 years playing in the NFL, were the head coaches of the Red and Blue teams. They remained almost an hour after the Spring Game at Arizona Stadium to sign autographs as part of the Friends of Wilbur and Wilma event that included 12 football players meeting fans and also signing autographs.

Jedd Fisch addressing the media after the Spring Game (Javier Morales/

The Wildcats went 1-11 last season in the first season under Jedd Fisch, who has been successful generating excitement despite the program losing 23 of its last 24 games dating to the 2019 season.

His “TwentyTucson” recruiting class that he signed in December and February is rated No. 1 in the Pac-12 by recruiting services. A few of those members, including Anaheim (Calif.) Servite High School Class of 2022 graduates Tetairoa McMillan, Noah Fifita and Keyan Burnett, enrolled at Arizona this spring to work with the Wildcats in practice.

Each of them showed fans at Arizona Stadium on Saturday their talents will be something to behold in the next few years. Burnett, who appears to be bringing the tight end back to Arizona’s offense for the first time since Gronkowski in 2008, caught a touchdown pass, as did McMillan — the most decorated offensive recruit in Arizona’s history.

Fifita showed he has a rifle of an arm and a football IQ so high that he can make the right decisions with little or no time to spare.

Washington State transfer Jayden de Laura threw an interception in his first series, but the Pac-12 Offensive Freshman Player of the Year showed that he can also rally the offense with extended drives.

Jordan McCloud also threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown after a 90-yard return by Jaxen Turner. It was hard to tell what was more special — Turner carrying the ball all the way to the end zone or him carrying his nephew Isaac while signing autographs during the Friends of Wilbur and Wilma event.

Jaxen Turner holdng his nephew Isaac during the Friends of Wilbur and Wilma autograph session (Javier Morales/

McCloud also gathered himself and led a scoring drive, that resulted in Thomas leaping and snaring his pass at the back of the end zone.

Here are some photos and tweets from today’s Spring Game:

Tetairoa McMillan returns to the sideline after catching a TD pass (Javier Morales/

Jayden de Laura signing autographs for young fans after the Spring Game (Javier Morales/


Friends of Wilbur & Wilma, a fan-driven and alumni-led supporter group for student-athletes at Arizona held a special event to coincide with the Wildcat football Spring Game on Saturday at Arizona Stadium.

Friends of Wilbur & Wilma is a Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) organization designed to welcome alumni, fans and businesses who want to engage and work with the student-athletes at Arizona.

The first 1,000 Zona Zoo students who attended Saturday’s game received a free Ice Shaker, a protein shaker bottle developed by the Gronkowski brothers — including Rob and his brother Chris, who both played at Arizona.

In addition to that, after the game, Friends of Wilbur & Wilma staged an autograph session at Bear Down Field adjacent to the stadium with Tedy Bruschi and Lance Briggs (Arizona legends returning as coaches of the Red and Blue teams in the scrimmage) as well as 12 of the Arizona players. The list of players included Hunter EcholsDorian Singer, Christian Rowland-WallaceJordan Morgan, Jayden de LauraJonah ColemanJacob CowingKyon BarrsChristian YoungTetairoa McMillan, Jaxen Turner and Jerry Roberts.

Following photos by Javier Morales/AllSports and Joey Medina/Manager of Friends of Wilbur & Wilma

FOLLOW @JAVIERJMORALES ON TWITTER! 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, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports,, 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. He became an educator five years ago and is presently a special education teacher at Gallego Fine Arts Intermediate in the Sunnyside Unified School District.

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