Early look at 2007 scholarships

The ink is hardly dry on the class of 2006 and already thoughts are turning to 2007. One of the most frequent questions we get is just how many scholarships do the Wildcats have next season? Here we break down how many players the Cats can bring in and what positions they will be looking to add.

As of right now the number of scholarships to give is around 17 or so. This could change depending on what the NCAA does with the new academic standards. The way the rule is set up, the Cats could lose as many as four scholarships, but more than likely it will be altered before it is put into effect.

17 seems like the number but a lot of things can happen to make that number grow, some of which I will explain.

On the roster right now there are 29 listed freshmen, both red shirt and true, some of which will be sophomores next season. I already took into account all of those that left the squad so the 29 number should be solid. I counted Sheldon Watts, but it is possible that he gets a medical out and the program gets a schollie back but he stays in school, on scholarship, but cannot play football again. There is a good chance it happens, but not definite.

There are 17 listed sophomores that will be juniors. Even though they seem to be leaving the program I went ahead and counted Kovalcheck, Ball, Beach and Aaron Butler. Kovalcheck is gone but his schollie will be picked up by Heavner most likely so no gain there. Ball and Beach both transferred so there is two more schollies. Butler is a RS Sophomore that should graduate in May and I am pretty sure the staff will take his schollie back after he does, which they are entitled to do, so there is one more. So out of the Sophomores-to-be-Juniors (17) the UA will get 3 schollies back.

There are 15 listed juniors that will be seniors. The junior-to-be-senior numbers are right on but I did go ahead and count Byron Smith, who is still an enigma. There is still a slight chance he plays in an Arizona uniform, so I will leave him in there for now. Either way, UA gets his schollie after this year anyways.

That is 29 (FR)+14 (SO)+15 (JR) = 58 scholarship players as of right now. Now if you add in the 2006 signing class, and assuming all of them get into school, you have 58 (returners) + 25 (Newbies) and you have a total of 83, which is two short of the NCAA's 85 limit.

Now, taking that two short number and combining it with the loss of the 15 seniors-to-be and you have a total of 17 scholarships to give. If I were to make predictions, I would say that Sheldon Watts gets his medical and will never play football again. That would put the number at 18 to give.

There are other factors that could come in to play but for now I will work off of the 18 number.

Out of the 15 to-be Seniors the Cats lose, by position...

2 Linebackers (McKinney and Akinniyi)
1 Quarterback (Adam Austin)
3 D-Tackles (Phillip, Smith and Parker)
2 O-Linemen (Hawes and Levitre)
2 Wide Outs (Steptoe and Eidson)
2 Tight Ends (Wood and McCall)
2 D-Backs (Johnson and Hollingsworth)
1 Kicker (Folk)

Working off of what UA loses and thinking about the total number to give, as of right now, I would think the schollies for the 2007 class would break down like this:

1 Quarterback - One QB a year is a must.

1 Running Back - One a year is a must.

1 Fullback/H-Back - Got to keep building depth, especially considering that both Brooks Reed and Earl Mitchell could easily end up on the defensive side of the ball.

2 Wide Receivers - Got a lot coming in and back after 06, but got to keep the cupboards full for Willie and Tyler.

1 Tight End - Lose two but brought in a few this year.

3 Offensive Linemen - A MINIMUM of 3 per year is a must to keep things straight.

That brings the offensive total to 9, which is half of the available scholarships.

2 Defensive Ends - UA is deep for years here but some, like Fields, may end up moving inside. Plus, the DL is important and guys get hurt.

2 Defensive Tackles - UA is deeper now but you gotta keep ‘em coming.

2 Linebackers - UA loses two and needs to get two for 2007, especially after not going hard after one in 2006.

3 Defensive Backs - Split em up however you want. With Ross, Nelson and Turner coming in 2006 CB looks good so I would go with 2 safeties and one corner.

9 Offensive guys plus 9 Defensive guys = 18 total rides to give as of right now. UA does lose Nick Folk at Kicker so there is a huge, HUGE, chance the coaches get a kicker in this class. If the number stays at 18 then I would expect one DB or the FB/HB spot to be taken by the kicker.

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