Gurrola looking to make immediate impact

Steven Gurrola is looking to make an immediate impact. Read on to see why his coach says he should be capable of doing so, his strengths and weaknesses, and more.

The offensive line was one of Arizona's strengths throughout the 2012 season. Providing adequate run blocking for the nation's leading rusher and stout pass-protection for one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the country, the unit had an impressive first year in Rich Rodriguez's system.

While the line looks to only improve going forward, there is a big hole to fill right in the middle with the departure of center Kyle Quinn. That's why the commitment of JUCO product Steven Gurrola is such an important one.

The 6-foot-2, 285-pound center from Glendale Community College has experience at a level above high school and already possesses the physical structure of a Division-I offensive lineman.

His offensive line coach at Glendale, Jason Jewell (who also serves as the Southwest Recruiting Analyst for, has been close to Gurrola for two years now and knows just how excited he is to jump into a situation where he can contribute immediately.

"He's very excited," Jewell said. "The biggest thing for him is that he wanted to stay close to home. He wanted to be able to play big time football.

"With Quinn being gone, he's going to have a chance to come in and play right away. Those were probably the biggest factors for him and he ended up ultimately committing really early."

Playing junior college ball in Glendale and spending years in the Phoenix area, Gurrola has been familiar with Arizona football for quite some time.

With the situation the Wildcats presented him, Gurrola didn't give serious consideration to any other offers according to his former offensive line coach.

"He didn't even give anyone else a chance," Jewell said. "It was what he wanted and he knew he wanted it, so he committed really early."

Jewell also realizes what this means to Gurrola's family, who will not be forced to travel out of state to see him play football at the Division-I level.
"They're really fired up," Jewell said. "His brother plays at Utah State, but he didn't have as many options as Steven did. Their family is originally from Los Angeles and moved here when they were young. They live in the central Phoenix area, so it was a pretty big deal to stay close to home."

Jewell has witnessed Gurrola's development over the past two seasons. He entered Glendale Community as a tackle, but ultimately developed into one of the best centers in the junior college ranks.

Jewell has even been told by Division-I college coaches that Gurrola stands out over most JUCO interior linemen in recent memory.

"He never played center in his life up until he went to junior college," Jewell said. "He had always played right tackle and was a three year starter in high school. He's still just learning the game itself. Playing inside, playing center, that was his biggest adjustment and he's so much better.

"A lot of schools came through and said he was one of the best centers they have seen, not just in this class, but ever. He's a special player. He's a difference maker."

While the praise Gurrola is receiving from his former position coach is high, Jewell also admits there is room for growth and maturity on the lineman's end.

"He has some adjustments to make," Jewell said. "But they won't be as big (as a high school prospect's). It will probably be just picking up the mental aspect of it and maturity. He's pretty mature, but he goofs around a bit and has fun at practice, but when you're at the Division-I level, it's a business.

"You want to be able to have fun, but you have to take it a little more serious. He's physically ready to play."

UA and Gurrola seem to be a perfect fit. There is an open job for him to compete for and he gets to stay relatively close to home. More than anything, Jewell realizes the real draw for his former player was the opportunity to play right away.

"If he wouldn't have had a chance to start, he would have looked elsewhere," Jewell said.

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