Arizona Football

2024 Arizona football season countdown: 54 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.

CLICK HERE TO ACCESS PREVIOUS DAYS IN THE COUNTDOWN

A LOOK BACK — NO. 54 DONNIE SALUM

Donnie Salum

With it being the 54th day until kickoff between the Lobos and Wildcats, the best player to wear¬†No. 54 for Arizona is linebacker Donnie Salum, who played for Arizona in 1988-89. Salum walked on to Dick Tomey’s program in 1988 out of Mesa Community College. He went to high school in Colorado Springs, Colo., before going to Mesa. He went on to lead Arizona in tackles in 1989 with 113. The Atlanta Falcons drafted him in the 10th round after that season. Injuries prevented him from a prolonged career. His fitness equipment business took off and he became a prominent booster for the Wildcats, donating approximately $800,000 to Arizona’s weight room. He is also credited for bringing Rob Gronkowski to Arizona because he befriended Gronkowski’s dad, who was also in the fitness equipment business. Salum presently owns the Fitness Gallery, which is headquartered in Denver and is Colorado’s largest fitness equipment store.

NO. 54 IN 2024 — DT CHASE RANDALL

Chase Randall

Randall, 6-foot-2 and 270 pounds, is a preferred walk-on at Arizona who hails from Canyon del Oro High School. He was with the Wildcats last season but did not play. In 2022, he played in seven games at Valparaiso. He was a team captain for CDO and former coach Dustin Peace when he was a senior in 2021.

NOTE

Arizona junior QB Noah Fifita was featured Monday on CBSSports.com. The reporter, Ryan McGrady, goes into detail about why the Big 12 should be on alert facing Fifita and the Wildcats in Arizona’s first season in the conference. McGrady has a background of evaluating personnel and recruiting at Stanford and Minnesota. He also spent four years in the NFL with the San Francisco 49ers. He specialized in doing offseason studies for coaches and scouts at Stanford, Minnesota and with the 49ers. He writes about how impressive Fifita was with third-down conversions, red-zone proficiency and passing under pressure last season.

THEY SAID IT

This is an excerpt of what McGrady wrote:

“The guy that repeatedly appeared in the top 10 of efficiency in each category was Arizona’s Noah Fifita. The Heisman winner is supposed to be at the top of all of these categories, but a redshirt freshman who started the season as a backup is not. Fifita watched Jayden de Laura start the first four games of 2023 from the sidelines, but he finished the season as one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the country. In fact, the Heisman-winning (Jayden) Daniels was the only QB to finish ahead of Fifita’s efficiency in more than one of the three categories.”

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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com 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 CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, 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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