With less than one month to go until the start of fall camp, we're going to count down our 20 most important Arizona players for the 2017 season. These are the players we believe are the most important towards Arizona’s success, which is not to be confused with a ranking of overall talent.
17. Nathan Eldridge, Redshirt sophomore center
Why He’s Important: Eldridge was put in an extremely difficult position with the death of Zach Hemmila last season. He likely would have been a rotation guy, but was forced to start the entire season and learn on the go.
There were some struggles throughout the season, but Eldridge improved and he was adequate by the end of the season.
In the past few years, the center position at Arizona has been a wreck. Whether it is a complete failure to snap the ball accurately or Hemmila’s death, Arizona needs stability at the position and ideally Eldridge provides that.
On an offensive line with plenty of talent, Eldridge may be the key. We know what Jacob Alsadek is going to bring to the table along with Layth Friekh and a few others, but we have yet to see if Eldridge can be consistently above average.
If he can, the offensive line may wind up being the strongest overall unit on Arizona. His position goes beyond simple blocking, as he needs to call out defenses and settle down his fellow linemen.
Eldridge is vital to the success of the entire offense and you can make an argument he belongs higher on this list.
20. Donavan Tate
19. Gavin Robertson
18. Jace Whittaker