Arizona Football

2024 Arizona football season countdown: 97 days to kickoff

To get ready for the upcoming Arizona football season, All Sports Tucson offers a countdown, which will include history notes and a look ahead to the season — a good way to keep Arizona football on the mind in the summer months leading up to fall camp in early August and then kickoff against New Mexico on Aug. 31 in the start of the Brent Brennan era.



Jim Hoffman, 1993 SI photo shoot

With it being the 97th day until kickoff between the Lobos and Wildcats, the best player to wear No. 97 for Arizona is defensive tackle Jim Hoffman, a member of the famed Desert Swarm defense from 1991-94. He is tied for sixth in career sacks in school history with 22.5. Hoffman passed away at age 48 in June 2021. Hoffman was not heavily recruited out of Spring Valley (Calif.) Mount Miguel High School, when he joined Dick Tomey’s program in 1990. He evolved into a highly productive complement alongside Rob WaldropTedy BruschiTy Parten and Jimmie Hopkins on the defensive line, one that contributed to Arizona allowing only 65.1 rushing yards per game in 1992 and an unreal 30.1 yards rushing a game a season later. Hoffman was one of the members of Desert Swarm on the famous cover of Sports Illustrated College Football Preview edition in 1994 that included Sanders, Bruschi, Tony Bouie and Sean Harris. The title was “Rock Solid — Arizona is No. 1.”

Tedy Bruschi, Sean Harris, Jim Hoffman, Tony Bouie and Brandon Sanders on the 1993 SI cover


Tristan Davis

Davis did not play in the 2023 season after arriving a three-star prospect from Lakeridge High School in Lake Oswego, Ore. He made 73 total tackles (18 solo, 55 assists) during senior season at Lakeridge. He posted 6.1 tackles per game and 12.5 tackles for loss. Davis also had offers from Arizona State, Colorado, and Nevada. Former Arizona defensive coordinator Johnny Nansen recruited him.


Former New Mexico running back Jacory Croskey-Merritt has apparently flipped back to committing to Arizona’s program after switching allegiances to Ole Miss last month. The wife of former New Mexico coach Danny Gonzales posted on her X page a photo of Gonzales and Croskey-Merritt in Tucson flashing the “C” Cats sign with their hands. Concerns about Croskey-Merritt’s eligibility surfaced after he flipped his commitment from Arizona to Ole Miss. His eligibility for one season is available because he did not play more than four games as a freshman with Alabama State. Croskey-Merritt will join former Ole Miss running back Kedrick Reescano in the Arizona running back room. He will also join former New Mexico offensive tackle Shancco Matautia, who changed his mind last week to play with the Wildcats after transferring to Arizona State in December.


 “I think he knows everybody in California.” — senior RB Quali Conley, a Fresno, Calif., product who transferred from San Jose State, said of Arizona running backs coach Alonzo Carter. Arizona’s running back corps that Carter has amassed is very impressive.

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 in 2016 and is presently a special education teacher at Sunnyside High School in the Sunnyside Unified School District.

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