Fall Camp is just weeks away, which means college football season is quickly approaching. Teams will soon begin to prepare for the 2012 season and for Arizona Wildcats’ fans, it should be an interesting month of observation with a new coaching staff and plenty of new faces on the roster to familiarize themselves with.
With a plethora of alterations and an entirely new system to adapt to, UA could see several newcomers make an impact in the upcoming campaign. Here are five new faces to the roster that fans may see right off the bat.
C.J. Dozier, LB
Dozier arrived earlier in the year after graduating high school a semester before he was scheduled to do so. Dozier has spent a lot of time learning the playbook and saw plenty of action in off-season practices and scrimmages. Arriving early to get a head start on the competition could serve Dozier well as he is battling for a job at a position that needs immediate attention.
Akron transfer Brian Wagner suddenly left the team, leaving a starting job open for someone to grab. It will be tough for Dozier to beat out the competition, but he will certainly battle for playing time.
Kyle Kelley, DE
Defensive end is another position with plenty of questions surrounding it and with fellow 2012 signee Dylan Cozens opting for a major league contract rather than college football, Kelley has an even better chance of seeing the field as a true freshman. There is going to be plenty of young competition for Kelley to battle, but he will be given a fair chance to compete despite being a true freshman.
Kelley made an impact in multiple ways in high school. He displayed good pass rushing skills, while making plays by forcing fumbles as well as recovering them. Kelley also showed strong special teams play, blocking two field goals and a punt as a junior. Expect to see Kelley a lot during fall camp.
B.J. Denker, QB
Currently, Richard Morrison is the number two quarterback on the roster, but he is probably better suited as a receiver in this offense. Denker, a JUCO transfer, was recruited by Rich Rodriguez to come fill a void at backup and should see plenty of action in fall camp.
Ideally, UA fans don’t want to see Denker this season, because that likely means something bad for starting quarterback Matt Scott, but with the lack of depth behind Scott, there is a chance fans could see Denker in 2012.
Vince Miles, S
Don’t be discouraged if you have never heard of this player as he just arrived in January, but he has apparently made such a strong impression on the coaching staff that he has a strong chance at playing time in 2012. Defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel normally utilizes two safeties and a “bandit,” so there are three spots up for grabs and Miles will likely compete for one of the safety positions.
He will have to battle players like Marquis Flowers, Jourdon Grandon, Jared Tevis, Tra’Mayne Bondurant and Mark Watley for time, but he is certainly in the mix and could surprise quite a few people in August.
Dakota Conwell, LB
Conwell was a highly touted prospect that was previously committed to Pitt, but after Todd Graham abruptly took a coaching job at Arizona State, Conwell opened up his recruitment. With a previous relationship with the new UA coaching staff from their days at Pitt, Conwell found comfort with the Wildcats and decided on Arizona instead.
Like Dozier, Conwell enters a position that needs immediate help. Conwell needs to add muscle and has a tough task ahead of him in terms of adjusting to the increased level of play. If he gains strength and picks up the playbook quickly enough, he will battle Dozier, Hank Hobson and Rob Hankins for playing time.