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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Top Wildcats to make it to the big stage

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Tyler Baker
Tyler Baker / The Daily Wildcat

The UA has had a football team since 1899 and finished with one win, one loss and one tie in its first season. The team wasn’t even originally referred to as the Wildcats; they were just known as “Varsity” until 1914. The UA and the game of football have been through a lot of changes since then. The colors changed from sage green and silver to our red and blue and the game eventually came into its own with the forward pass. But one thing’s stayed the same since 1899: Arizona produces some damn fine football players.

Here are the best five to come through the NFL Draft since 2009:

2009 — Eben Britton

Not only was Britton All-Pac 10 Conference first-team in 2008, but the Jaguars also selected him in the second round after his senior season. The man is 309 pounds and can still haul a 5.14 second 40-yard dash. He’s basically one-third of a grizzly bear that can block like a beast.

2010 — Rob Gronkowski

Better known as Gronk, the Arizona legend was an All-American and All-Pac 10 Conference first-team during his tenure in Tucson. He already set the NFL record for most receiving TDs and receiving yards by a tight end in a single season in his second year in the league. Gronk has signed the largest contract ever for a tight end and oh, not to mention, is a Super Bowl champion. There are a million more superlatives to describe him, but his play speaks for itself. He is easily one of the most dominating players in football today.

2011 — Brooks Reed

This Tucson native racked up 87 tackles and 15 sacks during his time at the UA and also was named to an All-Pac 10 first-team. He ended up going 42nd overall in the NFL Draft and now plays for the Atlanta Falcons, having earned 173 tackles over the course of his career.

2012 — Nick Foles

Not only did Foles do some great work at UA, but when healthy, he’s torn up the NFL. Foles was the first NFL quarterback to come away from a game with seven TDs and a perfect passer rating. He still holds the record for best TD-interception ratio in a single season at 27-2. Foles is in St. Louis now and has a 2-3 record to start the year. The last two years have been rough on him, but now that he’s safely away from Mad-Jack-Trader-Chip Kelly, things should be looking up.

2014 — Ka’Deem Carey

He’s a two-time All-American and was taken in the fourth round last year after finishing his junior season with 19 TDs and 1,885 yards on 349 carries. Those are video game numbers played by the guy who made the game. Last year, he put up 158 yards on 36 attempts with the Chicago Bears, serving as one of Matt Forte’s backups. You know what that is? Criminal. Give the guy more carries.

Honorable Mention — Ed Hochuli

Sure, he last played football in 1972 and sure, it was for a different school. But you know what? Hochuli’s a Tucson native and earned his law degree from the UA in 1976. I will absolutely take that; it counts. Hochuli has been a referee in the NFL since 1990 and has officiated two Super Bowls. He could probably outplay half of the guys on the gridiron. Hochuli is easily one of the best three things about football, the other being Aaron Rodgers and stadium hotdogs. Ed Hochuli, we salute you and if you want to hang out, that’s totally cool, too.


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