The Cats return the bulk of a unit that had a rocky season. Almost the entire unit lost weight in an effort to move to OLB in the 3-4 defense only to shift back to DE when the defense had to be scrapped. The Cats have some untested talent to go along with a nice group of newcomers.
Umeh seems to be the gem in the Wildcat class. He had offers from the nation's elite schools before academic concerns scared some schools off. He originally pledged to Kansas State but later changed his mind and decided to become an Arizona Wildcat. Umeh is a quick, outside defender who can get to a quarterback. A starter since he was a sophomore, he is one of three Klein Forest players to sign with the Cats this year.
2004 Role: The Cats look to be solid at DE, but no one has emerged as a star. Umeh should see the field as a true freshman, at the least to put pressure on Smith and Bryan.
Quote: "Umeh's a tremendous player. I think anybody would be tickled pink to have him on their football team. I think he's a terrific player. There's nothing I could say negative about him. Just a great football player."—Former Klein Forest head coach and current Wildcat grad assistant Gene Johnson.
DE/TE 6-5, 235
San Clemente (California) HS
One of the best tight ends at the NorCal Nike camp, Wilson will probably be a defensive end at Arizona. He has the size and talent to play tight end, defensive line or possibly offensive line. Good strength and athleticism, his versatility makes him so intriguing. You also have to love the fact that he says he loves to hit.
2004 Role: Wilson's versatility is a blessing and a curse. It's nice because he can do so many things, but it could lead him to a redshirt as the coaches find the right spot for him. Our guess is he gets his first shot at defensive end.
Quote: "Everything just felt right with Arizona."—Chris Wilson
Starters Lost: (1) Carl Tuitavuki
Starters Returning: (1) Carlos Williams Sr
Others Lost: none
Others Returning: Brad Brittain* Jr, Cedric Cofer RS-Fr, Paul Phillip So**, Cliff Stanford So,
*Brittain played at Mesa CC last season after being suspended for the year.
**There are reports that Phillip has slimmed down in hopes of moving to defensive end or linebacker.
This unit was decimated in the preseason last year. Tim Volk, David Sharp, Vince Fuela and Brittain were lost before camp was a week old. Brittain is back but the unit will need an immediate influx of talent and the Cats hope some true freshmen can contribute like Stanford did last season.
DT, 6-3, 285
Samuel Clemens HS, Schwertz, TX
Barnett is considered the best defensive lineman in the San Antonio area and one of the best linemen in the state of Texas. He committed to the Cats in early January only to take a few more visits, before solidifying his interest in the program. Barnett has the size to play at the college level and can also boast athleticism. Barnett runs a 4.9 40-yard dash and was used as a blocking tight end in short yardage situations. He is very quick and aggressive. He was also recruited by schools like Colorado, Oklahoma State, Missouri and Wisconsin.
2004 Role: Barnett will probably be in the hunt for immediate playing time. The Cats are still thin up front and Barnett seems as ready to play as Cliff Stanford who did an admirable job as a true frosh last season.
Quote: "I am very aggressive. I like to make things happen for my team, that is my No. 1 thing. I give my team my all. I come off the line very fast. For a big guy I am pretty quick."—Yaniv Barnett
DT, 6-4, 282
Rancho Bernardo HS, Poway, CA
Athletic defensive lineman who can play either tackle or end. Was recruited by the prior staff but is well regarded by Stoops and Co. Committed to Arizona early in the process and then fended off late interest by a number of Pac-10 and Mountain West schools. Very good pass rusher who had close to 10 sacks this past season.
2004 Role: The guess is that Kolone sits out the season and either bulks up to play inside or takes a season to learn DE after being a tackle in high school.
Quote: "I have good technique and get off the ball fast. I have a lot of power and am a good pass rusher. I also have good speed and move well."—Chris Kolone