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.
14. Larry Tharpe, Redshirt junior defensive lineman
2016 Stats: 8 GP, 16 tackles, 2.5 TFL, 3 Pass deflections
Why He’s Important: Tharpe may have been Arizona’s best defensive lineman at times and you could make an argument he is the most important part of the defensive line going into next season.
Tharpe joined Arizona as a walk-on before fall camp started, which means that he missed the entire preseason camp.
He then built his way up from the scout team and didn’t play his first game until October. We can only imagine his impact if he had gone through camp and started the first game, but now we will get to see it first hand.
For a team that needs all the defensive help it can get, Tharpe is as important as they come. The linebackers will be young and the secondary lacking depth, so the success of the defense will start on the line.
If Tharpe can get pressure on the opposing quarterback or even generate enough to contain the run, Arizona’s defense will be dramatically better for it.
When making this list, we thought about putting Tharpe in the top ten and we may still regret not doing so because of howe vital he is to Arizona’s overall success.
20. Donavan Tate
19. Gavin Robertson
18. Jace Whittaker
17. Nathan Eldridge
16. Shawn Poindexter
15. Michael Eletise