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Wildcats Open 2022 Campaign on the Road at SDSU

Aug 29, 2022

TUCSON, Ariz. — The Arizona Wildcats kick off their 2022 campaign, their second season under head coach Jedd Fisch, this Saturday, Sept. 3 at San Diego State.

Saturday's game kicks off at 12:30 p.m. MST and will be nationally televised on CBS.

A complete preview of the Wildcats 2022 season opener can be found below.

  • The Arizona Wildcats open the 2022 season at San Diego State with kickoff set for 12:30 p.m. MST. Arizona is in their second season under head coach Jedd Fisch.
  • Saturday's game will be nationally televised on CBS with Brad Nessler (PxP), Gary Danielson (Analyst), and Jenny Dell (Sideline) on the call.
  • The Wildcats and Aztecs square off in the first contest played at the brand new Snapdragon Stadium in San Diego.
  • Arizona is 10-6 all-time against San Diego State following last year's 38-14 loss at Arizona Stadium. The Wildcats are 3-3 all-time on the road against SDSU — their last road win over the Aztecs was a 35-16 victory in 1998.
  • The Cats are 48-64-4 all-time in road openers and have lost each of their last four. Arizona also holds an all-time winning record of 83-29-5 in season openers, but have lost three in a row.
  • During the offseason, the Wildcats signed a nationally lauded recruiting class that ranked second in the Pac-12 and 22nd nationally. Arizona's 2022 class included wide receiver Tetairoa McMillan, a five-star recruit and the highest ranked prospect in program history.
  • Arizona's incoming class also featured quarterback Jayden de Laura, who was selected as the 2021 Pac-12 Offensive Freshman Player of the Year after throwing for 2,796 yards and 23 touchdowns at Washington State.
  • Punter Kyle Ostendorp earned Preseason First Team All-Pac-12 honors, while wide receiver Jacob Cowing and defensive lineman Kyon Barrs earned a spot on the Second Team. Defensive back Christian Roland-Wallace earned Honorable Mention recognition.

1,354 — Transfer wide receiver Jacob Cowing (UTEP) finished the 2021 season with 1,354 receiving yards, the 9th most among all Division I players.

50 — The Wildcats added 50 newcomers during the offseason. 11 came from the transfer portal, while 39 joined out of high school.

36.5 — Arizona returns 36.5 tackles for loss from a 2021 team that ranked second in the Pac-12 with 5.8 TFL per game.

119 — 2022 marks the 119th season of Arizona Football. The Wildcats hold an all-time record of 618-489-33 with a Pac-10/12 mark of 161-195-6

12 — RT Paiton Fears returns after starting all 12 games last season. He and LT Jordan Morgan bring veteran experience to the offensive line. Morgan started 11-of-12 games last season. 

BUILDING UNDER HEAD COACH JEDD FISCH: The Wildcats enter the second season of the Jedd Fisch era with a reenergized roster in tow. Coach Fisch and staff pulled in the No.21/No. 22 recruiting class nationally (per Rivals/247Sports) with key additions at multiple positions. That recruiting class ranked first (per Rivals) and third (per 247Sports) in the Pac-12 behind Oregon and Stanford. Fisch reeled in 23 commits with five four-stars and 18 three-stars. Arizona landed the highest-ranked recruit in program history, wide receiver Tetairoa McMillan out of Servite High School. A five-star prospect that was ranked No. 5 at his position. McMillan was joined by teammates Keyan Burnett (TE), a four-star tight end, and Noah Fifita (QB) a three-star QB, out of Servite HS in Anaheim. The success in recruiting marked one of the top classes in program history.

VERSUS SAN DIEGO STATE: Arizona leads San Diego State 10-6 all-time after dropping last year's contest 38-14 at Arizona Stadium. The Wildcats won four in a row over the Aztecs prior to the loss last year. Arizona is 3-3 against the Aztecs in San Diego as they open Snapdragon Stadium on national TV. Wildcats last opened the season against the Aztecs on Aug. 30, 2001, a 23-10 victory. Running back Clarence Farmer rushed for 100 yards and one touchdown. Quarterback Jason Johnson completed 21-of-32 passes for 176 yards and one touchdown. Wide receiver Malosi Leonard made six receptions for 52 yards and wide receiver Brandon Marshall caught the only receiving touchdown on a four-yard pass with 6:37 left in the third quarter to put the Wildcats up 13 points. This marks the first-ever game at Snapdragon Stadium.

O CAPTAIN! MY CAPTAIN!: Arizona Football's Leadership Council selected their captains for the 2022 season. As announced by head coach Jedd Fisch prior to their week one game against SDSU, the Wildcats captains will be:

  • Christian Roland-Wallace, CB
  • Christian Young, S
  • Jalen Harris, DL
  • Jordan Morgan, OL
  • Jayden de Laura, QB

QB1: Sophomore transfer quarterback Jayden de Laura, who was named Pac-12 Offensive Freshman of the Year in 2021, has been announced as the starting quarterback for the Wildcats entering the season. De Laura led Washington State to a 7-6 record and a berth in the Sun Bowl after throwing for 2,798 yards and 23 touchdowns on 227-for-359 passing. He was named 2021 All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention. De Laura threw multiple touchdown passes in eight games and led WSU to their first Apple Cup victory since 2012. He earned Rose Bowl Game Pac-12 Player of the Week honors after win over Oregon State in which he threw for a career-high 399 yards and three scores. As a first-year freshman in 2020 went 78-of-129 passing for 886 yards and five touchdowns in four games. De Laura prepped at powerhouse program St. Louis High School in Honolulu and helped lead the program to two state championships. He went 11-0 and won state as a junior to earn second team All-Hawaii recognition. Followed that up with an undefeated season as a senior, steering team to 12-0 finish and another state championship. De Laura was honored as a High School All-American according to MaxPreps. He was named 2019 Hawai'I Gatorade Player of the Year. De Laura, as a HS senior in 2019, threw for 3,452 yards and 29 touchdowns on 228-of-319 passing.

FOUR WILDCATS NAMED PRESEASON PAC-12: Kyle Ostendorp is selected First-Team All-Pac-12, Jacob Cowing and Kyon Barrs are honored with Second-Team selections, and Christian Roland-Wallace are named honorable mention following a vote among media members.  Ostendorp (1st Team) was fourth in the nation in 2021, in average punt distance (49.2), leading the Pac-12 last season. He kicked the longest punt of the season, 71 yards against San Diego State on Sept. 11, and punted for 2,852 total yards on his way to 2021 All-Pac-12 First Team honors. Cowing (2nd Team) was a standout at UTEP prior to transferring to Arizona. He led the Miners in receiving all three seasons, including a 2021 campaign when he finished with 69 receptions for 1,354 yards and seven touchdowns. Cowing was named First Team All-Conference USA honors in 2021 and Second Team recognition in 2020. Barrs (2nd Team) earned All-Pac-12 Second Team in 2021, after making 33 tackles for loss, and a team-leading five sacks. He finished tied for eighth in the Pac-12 in sacks a season ago. Barrs was named to the Lott IMPACT Trophy Watch List yesterday and has made 63 total tackles including 8.0 tackles for loss and 5.0 sacks through 26 games played over three seasons. Roland-Wallace earned honorable mention after making 48 tackles, good for fourth-most on the team in 2021. Recorded 1.5 sacks marking the first of his career with a half sack against UCLA and a solo sack at Washington State.

KEY TRANSFER: Wide receiver Jacob Cowing (Jr.) headlines the Wildcats long list of preseason watch list/award candidates. Cowing has been named to the Maxwell Award Watch List, Biletnikoff Award Watch List, East-West Shrine Bowl 1000, preseason Second Team All-Pac-12, and the Reese's Senior Bowl Watch List. Cowing played three seasons at UTEP prior to transferring to Arizona. He led the Miners in receiving yards all three years, including a 2021 campaign in which he finished with 69 receptions for 1,354 yards and seven touchdowns. Cowing earned First Team All-Conference USA honors in 2021 and Second Team recognition in 2020. He finished the 2021 season ranked ninth nationally among all FBS players in receiving yards (1,354). For his career at UTEP, he hauled in 141 receptions, 2,595 yards and 13 touchdowns.

KYLE AWESOMEDORP: Punter Kyle Ostendorp (Jr.) has pulled in numerous preseason honors after being selected to the Sporting News Second-Team All-America team, East-West Shrine Bowl 1000 watch list, preseason First Team All-Pac-12 team, Ray Guy Award watch list, for the nation's top punter, First Team Pro Football Network Honors, AP Preseason Second-Team All-American. Ostendorp set an Arizona record and led the Pac-12 averaging 49.2 yards per punt. He posted a Pac-12 best 28 punts that traveled 50+ yards and downed 17 inside the 20.

EAST-WEST SHRINE BOWL 1000: Cornerback Christian Roland-Wallace (Jr.) was named Pac-12 preseason honorable mention and East-West Shrine Bowl 1000 watch list. Joining the listed above on the East-West Shrine Bowl 1000 include Josh Donovan (OL), Paiton Fears (OL), Jalen Harris (DL), Jordan Morgan (OL), Michael Wiley (RB), and Christian Young (S). The East-West Shrine Bowl is the longest-running college all-star football game in the nation. The East-West Shrine Bowl is an important part of America's football tradition, giving top college players a chance to showcase their talents to NFL scouts and a national television audience. For more than 90 years, some of football's greatest athletes and coaches have contributed to the tradition of the East-West Shrine Bowl. Players like Gale Sayers, Tom Brady, John Elway, Allan Page, Dick Butkus, Brett Favre, Gino Marchetti and Walter Payton, along with coaches Don Shula, Dick Vermeil, Paul "Bear" Bryant and Jerry Glanville, to name a few, have supported the East-West Shrine Bowl.

POLYNESIAN PLAYER OF THE YEAR WATCH LIST: Freshman wide receiver Tetairoa McMillan is joined by fellow freshman Jonah Savaiinaea (OL) and sophomore transfer defensive lineman Tiaoalii Savea on the Polynesian Player of the Year Watch List, as voted on by members of the Polynesian Hall of Fame. McMillan and Savaiinaea were also selected to the 247 Sports True Freshman All-American Team. The Award is presented annually to the most outstanding college football player of Polynesian ancestry that epitomizes great ability and integrity. The Watch List is composed of 85 players from 43 different FBS schools.

FOUR WILDCATS ON REESE'S SENIOR BOWL WATCH LIST: Junior wide receiver Jacob Cowing, redshirt senior defensive lineman Jalen Harris, junior cornerback Christian Roland-Wallace, and senior safety Christian Young were selected to the Reese's Senior Bowl Watch List. The Reese's Senior Bowl is the nation's most prestigious college all-star game, as it annually serves as the first step of the NFL draft process, which explains their hashtag, #TheDraftStartsInMOBILE. The Reese's Senior Bowl has had 106 total players and 36 selected in the first three rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft. The 106 figure represents 41% of the total draft. Next year's game will be held February 4, 2023, and broadcast live on NFL Network. Practices are live on ESPN; with NFL Network producing a daily recap show airing in primetime.

MAKING AN IMPACT: Defensive lineman Kyon Barrs (Jr.) added his name to the award watch list season. Barrs has put his name on Lott IMPACT Trophy Watch List, Second-Team All-Pac-12, East-West Shrine Bowl 1000, and Outland Trophy Watch List in preseason. He grabbed 2021 All-Pac-12 Second Team honors after recording 33 tackles including eight tackles for loss and a team-leading five sacks last season.

I AM #1: Last season at the beginning of camp, Jedd Fisch began a new tradition of competition for the No. 1 jersey on both offense and defense. During 2021 fall camp, Jalen Harris won the No. 1 on defense and Stanley Berryhill III won No. 1 on offense. Harris carried over No. 1 for the defense into 2022. It was announced that wide receiver Anthony Simpson would don the No. 1 jersey. Simpson earned the jersey after his effort on special teams and offense during fall camp. "We made a decision that Anthony Simpson has done an incredible job on special teams," Head Coach Jedd Fisch said, "He's committed to being a four-core guy." In 2021, Harris finished fifth on the team in tackles (47) marking a career high, including six tackles for loss and four sacks.

HALL OF FAME PEDIGREE (2X): Safety Isaiah Taylor enters his sophomore season at Arizona with something in his back pocket that you don't see very often… a Pro Football Hall of Famer for a father. Taylor, who is the son of 15-year pro and 2017 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Jason Taylor, won a state championship and was named All-State in the 7A division while playing at St. Thomas Aquinas. He holds his school record for the longest touchdown with a 103-yard interception return for a touchdown. Freshman wide receiver Rex Haynes shares a common bond with Taylor. His father Mike Haynes played for the Raiders and Patriots and is also in the NFL Hall of Fame. Rex helped Cathedral Catholic to a State Championship during his senior year in 2021. Rex also ran the fastest 4x1 in school history.

NEW FACES ON THE COACHING STAFF: Arizona hired Johnny Nansen to be the Defensive Coordinator following the departure of Don Brown after last season. Nansen spent the previous two seasons coaching the defensive line for UCLA and has coached in the Pac-12 since 2009. Once aboard with the Wildcats, Nansen played a key role in building Arizona's 2022 signing class that ranked second in the Pac-12, 22nd nationally, and included the first five-star signee in program history. Jason Kaufusi joined the Wildcats as an Assistant Coach in charge of Defensive Ends and Outside Linebackers. Kaufusi came from UCLA as well, where he was the outside linebackers coach from three seasons from 2019-21. In 2021, Kaufusi coached alongside new Arizona defensive coordinator Johnny Nansen and helped the UCLA defense rank second in the Pac-12 in sacks per game (2.2) and rushing defense (124.2). 

WE EDUCATE WEDNESDAY: Every Wednesday, Jedd Fisch brings in a guest speaker to talk to the team either in person or virtually about a myriad of subjects during We Educate Wednesday. Below is a list of a few speakers that have led We Educate Wednesday discussions.

  • Dr. Richard Carmona – former United States Surgeon General
  • Steve Kerr – Wildcat alum and Golden State Warriors Head Coach
  • Jim Caldwell – Former NFL Head Coach
  • Sean McVay – Los Angeles Rams Head Coach
  • Pete Carroll – Super Bowl Champion and Seattle Seahawks Head Coach

CATS IN THE PRESEASON: Stanley Berryhill III has made one reception for 14 yards in preseason. Berryhill III was named 2021 All-Pac-12 First Team (All-Purpose), as well as 2021 All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention (Wide Receiver). He became the sixth player in school history to have 80 catches in one season and finished tied for third on the single-season reception list. Gary Brightwell has made nine carries for 51 yards in the 2022 preseason with the New York Giants. Roy Lopez has made one tackle, a sack, during the preseason with the Houston Texans.

HEY MR DJ: Senior running back DJ Williams joins the Wildcats after three seasons with Auburn (2) and Florida State (1). Williams appeared in 24 games over three seasons and rushed for 646 yards and six touchdowns on 132 carries. He joins a talented backfield with Michael Wiley (Jr.), Jonah Coleman (Fr.), Rayshon Luke (Fr.), and Drake Anderson (Jr.) all looking to contribute to the Arizona rushing attack. With Auburn, he appeared in 19 games and rushed 122 times for 599 yards and five touchdowns, making 12 catches for 72 yards. Williams gained a career-high 130 rushing yards at No. 2 LSU in 2019. He came out of high school as a four-star prospect rated as the nation's No. 16 running back in the class of 2019 by 247 Sports and No. 18 by ESPN.

SERVITE CONNECTION: The Wildcats have four freshmen out of Servite High School entering the 2022 season. Tight end Keyan Burnett, quarterback Noah Fifita, linebacker Jacob Manu, and wide receiver Tetairoa McMillan. Fifita led Servite to an appearance in the 2021 CIF Southern Section title game, passing for over 300 yards and two touchdowns against Mater Dei. McMillan caught 15 passes for 163 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the first meeting between the two teams.

MORE-GAN: Offensive lineman Jordan Morgan was named to the preseason watch list for the Wuerffel Trophy, which is presented to the FBS player who best combines exemplary community service with leadership achievements on and off the field. Morgan was one of 115 players to make the initial list. A native of Marana, Morgan has established himself as a consistent force on the Wildcats offensive line. After appearing in eight games over his first two seasons in Tucson he took over the regular starting left tackle during the 2021 season, starting in each of Arizona's final 11 games of the year.

WILDCATS IN THE NFL: With Stanley Berryhill III joining the Atlanta Falcons, the Wildcats are well represented in the National Football League with ten former letterwinners active across the league. One of Arizona's most prestigious alumnus, tight end Rob Gronkowski, retired following the 2021 season after winning the fourth Super Bowl of his career. Gronk was a five-time Pro Bowl selection, a four-time First Team All-Pro selection, and was selected to the NFL's 2010s All-Decade Team and NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team. Over 11 seasons with New England and Tampa Bay, Gronkowski recorded 9,286 yards (5th all time) and 92 touchdowns (3rd all time). Quarterback Nick Foles is in his 11th NFL season after rewriting the Wildcats record books during his time in Tucson. The most recent Wildcats to make the transition to the NFL are wide receiver Stanley Berryhill III (Atlanta Falcons), running back Gary Brightwell (New York Giants), and defensive end Roy Lopez (Houston Texans). 2021 Arizona football alumnus Stanley Berryhill III was signed by the Atlanta Falcons. For a complete list of former Wildcats in the NFL, see the comprehensive chart below.

Current Wildcats on NFL Rosters

Player Position Team
Jace Whittaker CB Arizona Cardinals
Stanley Berryhill III WR Atlanta Falcons
Dane Cruikshank S Chicago Bears
Roy Lopez NT Houston Texans
Nick Foles QB Indianapolis Colts
Nick Folk K New England Patriots
J.J. Taylor RB New England Patriots
Gary Brightwell RB New York Giants
Will Parks S New York Jets
Demetruis Flannigan-Fowles LB San Francisco 49ers