Arizona Football

2024 Arizona football season countdown: 77 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.



Tucson High grad Mike Dawson (left) and Marana alum Jordan Morgan both were first-round NFL draft picks after stellar careers with the hometown Arizona Wildcats (Arizona Athletics photos)

With it being the 77th day until kickoff between the Lobos and Wildcats, the best players to wear No. 77 for Arizona are defensive end Mike Dawson and offensive tackle Jordan Morgan, both of whom became hometown heroes for the Wildcats. Dawson hailed from Tucson High and Morgan starred at Marana. Both became first-round NFL draft picks. Dawson was a second-team All-American as a senior at Arizona. He was a two-time first-team All-WAC selection in 1974 and 1975. He was inducted into the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame in 1978. He was a first-round selection in the NFL draft in 1976, going to the St. Louis Cardinals as the No. 22 pick overall. He played nine seasons in the NFL before retiring and becoming an entrepreneur in Tucson. At the time of his death from a heart attack, at age 54 in 2008, he owned a landscaping company and the Sports Page Lounge on Oracle Road. He was about to become an assistant coach at Pima College after coaching stints at Pueblo and Mountain View high schools. Morgan appeared in all 12 games on the offensive line for the Wildcats in his final year with the program last season and was named AP First-Team All-Pac-12 and second-team CBS Sports/247 Sports All-American. He was named All-Pac-12 First Team. He led the Wildcats’ offensive line in total blocking grade (84.3), run-blocking grade (77.0), and pass-blocking grade (87.3) per Pro Football Focus. He allowed only two sacks in 787 snaps over 12 games. The Green Bay Packers used the No. 25 pick on Morgan in the first round in April. What reportedly sold Green Bay on Morgan was how he battled his way back from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in November 2022 to earn All-Pac-12 honors in 2023.


Michael Wooten

Wooten, 6-foot-4 and 310 pounds, utilized a redshirt while appearing in one game as a true freshman at Oregon last season. Saw the field in Oregon’s win over Stanford (Oct. 1), playing two snaps at right tackle. At Sierra Canyon High School at Simi Valley, Calif., he was a consensus three-star recruit and a top-50 recruit among offensive tackles by Rivals (No. 41) and the 247 composite (No. 47). Ranked No. 61 at the position by 247Sports and ESPN. The No. 30 player in California according to Rivals. Ranked No. 47 in the state by the 247 composite, and No. 61 by both ESPN and 247Sports. The second-best offensive tackle in California by Rivals and the 247 composite. Rated as the No. 3 tackle in the state by ESPN and 247Sports.


Phil Steele Magazine has named Arizona’s junior wide receiver Tetairoa McMillian a preseason First Team All-American. McMillan is coming off a sophomore season in which he had 90 receptions for 1,402 yards, both second-most in program history. He enters 2024 in eighth place on the school’s career receiving list with 2,104 yards, within reach of Bobby Wade’s program record of 3,351. McMillan also has the eighth-most career-touchdown receptions (18) in Arizona football history. He will likely give Arizona two first-round NFL draft picks in consecutive years, following Morgan’s selection this year by the Packers. The last and only time that happened at Arizona was when Chris McAlister went in the first round to the Baltimore Ravens in 1999 and Trung Canidate was chosen in the first round by the St. Louis Rams in 2000. McMillan was also a First-Team All-Big 12 pick by Steele. LB Jacob Manu and CB Tacario Davis were named Third-Team All-Americans. McMillan joined OT Jonah Savaiinaea and PK Tyler Loop on the preseason All-Big 12 First Team. Davis was the lone Wildcat named Second-Team All-Big 12 and QB Noah Fifita, C Josh Baker, and S Treydan Stukes were named Third-Team All-Big 12. 


“Watching myself (on tape), I like to watch my mistakes and what I can do better. I watch the good things, too. But watching the opponent, that’s the main thing that’s important to me when I’m watching film. I have to find the little things that they do to make me move faster and know what I’m doing.” — Manu

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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