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Arizona Spring Football Preview: Wildcats Looking for Next Matt Scott

Rich Rodriguez will be paying close attention to what should be a heated battle for the starting quarterback position at Arizona this spring.


Having Matt Scott redshirt in 2011 ended up being an invaluable blessing for Rich Rodriguez, as Scott was the perfect quarterback for his system and was ready to step up right away last season being a battle-tested senior. Unfortunately for Rodriguez, Scott was just that, a senior, and is now on his way to the NFL with no clear heir apparent.

Heading into spring, the competition for the starting quarterback spot looks like it is going to be a heated battle between senior B.J. Denker and incoming junior college transfer Jesse Scroggins.

Denker saw a bit of time when Scott was injured last season and excelled in a start against Colorado in which he was 12-14 for 136 yards and 2 touchdowns while also running for 44 yards and a touchdown. While his solid performance against the Buffs is a good sign, I don't think you can read too much into it, as pretty much every quarterback who faced Colorado in 2012 tore them apart. Denker is a bit slight at 6'3 177, but is efficient and can make plays with his feet. Strangely enough though, it might be Denker's experience that sets him back, as he is a senior and first-year starters that are seniors are becoming a rarity in college football. Also, Rodriguez might be hesitant to hand his offense over to a guy who will be gone in one year for the second season in a row.

Scroggins was one of the top-rated quarterbacks in the country coming out of high school in 2010 when he signed with USC. Scroggins ended up at El Camino Junior College after leaving USC due to the logjam at quarterback and he actually has a lot of similarities to Scott, as they both are about 6'3 210 and adept at making plays with their feet, while also being very skilled passers. Scroggins looks like he has a very high ceiling and even though he hasn't even practiced as a Wildcat yet, it looks like he might be the favorite to win the job.

The only other quarterback on the Wildcat roster who appears to possibly be in the running is redshirt freshman Javelle Allen, but it looks like he will need to have a really good spring to even get in the running.

Regardless of what happens during the spring, Rodriguez might actually be hesitant to name a starter as some have speculated that 2013 signee from Las Vegas, Anu Solomon might be able to challenge for the starting position as soon as he arrives on campus. The problem though is that unlike many other big time quarterback recruits, Solomon did not graduate high school early in order to take part in spring football, so it will be a few more months before he will show up.