by Derek Evans
There's one huge question for the Arizona Wildcats coming into the 2013: who will the starting quarterback?
Right now, it looks to be a three-man race among senior B.J Denker, junior transfer Jesse Scroggins and incoming freshman Anu Solomon. Currently, things seem pretty even, and we may not have a clear-cut winner for some time...but that shouldn't stop us from taking a look at the three candidates.
From a glance, Denker has the most experience, Scroggins could be the next Matt Scott and Solomon could very well be the future of the program.
Denker is the only one of three who has started a Division I college football game. That came last year when then-starter Matt Scott was sidelined with an injury (though Denker also played garbage-time minutes in blowouts). It may be a little unfair to judge, based on his limited play, but in the time he did see on the field, Denker's stats were not very impressive.
On the whole, he had 25 competions out of 37 pass attempts for 259 yards, with 3 touchdowns an interception. There isn't much reason to believe that, given a whole season starting, Denker's numbers could be much better, but with a running back like Ka'Deem Carey you really don't need all that much from a quarterback to be successful.
It would be nice to have a solid one-two punch, not unlike what Matt Scott and Carey had last year. However, it seems unlikely that Denker could fill the same role as Scott. After all, Scott had six rushing touchdowns with 506 rushing yards on the season.
With all due respect for Denker, he doesn't have Scott's mobility and I could see more teams try to stack the box to try to shut down Carey.
Scroggins, who was the second-overall rated quarterback coming out of high school in 2010, might be the best for the offense. Things didn't work out well for Scroggins at Southern California, where he spent his freshman year, and he went to El Camino Community College in Torrance, Calif., for the 2012 season.
Unfortunately, his numbers weren't great there, likely due to his joining the team late, making him unable to practice with them in the spring. Scroggins mobility at least gives him the chance to somewhat look like Scott.
Though some would be alarmed by Scroggins only throwing eight touchdowns last year for El Camino, that should be taken with a grain of salt thanks to his late start. Although he was only a backup at USC, his time as Matt Barkley's understudy should be a valuable experience for him.
Anu Solomon is seen as the future at Arizona, but that doesn't mean he's the present. Simply, starting a true freshman doesn't seem like something coach Rich Rodriguez would do.
Admittedly, Solomon's statistics in high school were very impressive. He had back to back seasons with 40 or more touchdowns and never threw more than five interceptions in a season.
It is very rare that a quarterback this good in high school commits to the University of Arizona. Needless to say, the Wildcats aren't exactly a football powerhouse, though the team did win a bowl game this past season. Many believe that Solomon could make an immediate impact as a freshman — though perhaps not as big as freshman Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M did in winning the Heisman Trophy last year.
That said, for a program trying to work their way into becoming more nationally respected, starting a freshman at quarterback doesn't seem like the answer. It should be interesting to see who will be the Wildcats' starter week one against NAU.