Football Guide '17: Leaders of the new school
Left to Right: Nathan Tilford, Tony Fields II, Lucas Havrisik and Brian Casteel
With the dawn of a new season comes an infusion of new players fresh from the high school ranks eager to make a difference. This year is no different as we highlight four freshmen that could make a significant impact for Arizona football this season.
Tony Fields Jr.
Fields Jr. is a hard-hitting linebacker who is elusive coming off the edge and efficient when dropping into zone coverage.
In addition to pass defense, Fields Jr. can plug holes in the defensive line to stop the run.
There were doubts coming into the season about his size, but he put on weight to come up to 225 lbs. He is still on the small side for a linebacker, but he makes up for his size by playing smart, heady football. For a size comparison, former Arizona All-American, Scooby Wright, was listed in his draft profile as 6-foot,
If you watched his high school footage from 2015, you’d see that Tilford shows an ability to gain yards after contact. He has patience and break-away speed to go with his ideal size for a running back.
Once wrapped up, Tilford likes to turn his back and keep swimming with his legs. Tilford is more comparable to an Ezekiel Elliot, than a David Johnson or a Le’Veon Bell, so it will be interesting to see if he can complement Brandon Dawkins.
Arizona finally has a kicker to be excited about. Havrisik was the kicker and punter for his high school team and was voted the most valuable player.
As a kicker, Havrisik was a five-star recruit, per Chris Sailer Kicking. As a punter, he landed 10 of his 40 punts within the 20 yard line, the baseline of a good punt.
He has all but secured the job as the man on kickoffs and is giving incumbent Josh Pollack a run for his money for the top of the field goal unit depth chart.
Is Havrisik the kicker to finally rid Arizona Stadium of the ghost of Alex Zendejas?
Casteel is going to make an impact for the Wildcats. Casteel played on both sides of the ball for Charter Oak High School, lining up as both a receiver and a corner. He also played running back and could line up both behind an under center quarterback and next to a quarterback in the shotgun.
His ability to line up in the “I” formation shows his ability to smash the ball between the teeth, so to speak, and carry the ball up the middle and run over defenders. He shows quick bursts of speed to separate himself while running routes. Casteel has great hands and a seemingly high football I.Q. He also has a highlight film of circus catches and of running over helpless defensive backs.
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