Countdown to Camp: Fullbacks

All too often the fullbacks get lost in the shuffle of the offensive skill players. They are more blockers than ball carriers, and don't get the glory that their backfieldmates do. Arizona has an intriguing crop of fullbacks coming into this season, but like the halfback counterparts, not a lot of experience.

Starters Returning: Brandon Lopez
Starters Lost: Pedro Limon
Key Returners: Eric Schlegel, Robert Jones
Others Lost: none
Key Newcomers: Earl Mitchell, Brooks Reed
Coach: Kasey Dunn (3rd season)

1. Brandon Lopez, 6-1, 224, So., Vail, Ariz. (Cienega)
Lopez started the season as a linebacker but was moved to offense at midseason and the results were great. Lopez is big and physical, yet he can motor. The Wildcat coaches got him involved in the offense as a pass catcher (4 catches for 35 yards) but expect his role to increase this season after a full spring and fall camp under his belt.

2. Eric Schlegel, 6-1, 230, So., Laguna Beach, Calif. (Wheaton College) (Santa Margarita)
Schlegel is a big, bruising fullback who will have to battle to keep his place on the depth chart. He's got the makings to be a great blocker but it remains to be seen what else he can do within the offense.

3. Robert Jones, 5-9, 241, Sr., Mesa, Ariz. (Mesa CC)
Jones is a short, compact, bowling ball of a fullback. He may only be 5-9 but he's incredibly strong. Like Schlegel, Jones is going to have to battle scholarship newcomers for his place on the depth chart.

4. Earl Mitchell, 6-2, 250, Fr., Houston, Texas (North Shore)
Mitchell is a very powerful lead blocker. He has great athleticism and he doesn't care if he ever gets the ball in his hands. He is just a total team and program player. Earl is very strong for his age and he loves to just go out and hit people. Has decent hands and very good speed once he gets started. He may have the leg up on Brooks Reed because of Reed's ability to play linebacker.

5. Brooks Reed, 6-3, 220, Fr., Tucson, Ariz. (Sabino High School)
Reed is a shifty, smart and very powerful running back when he wants to be. He plays with tenacity on the field and he loves to mix it up and stick his head out and get dirty. He has very good raw athleticism and is a solid lead blocker. Strength, as always is key, especially for a multi-purpose back like Reed. He's strong but needs to get stronger. Reed is also a talented defender and it looks as if he will get an audition at both fullback and linebacker in fall camp.

In the offense the fullback and H-back can be interchangeable in certain formations so there is a chance that one of the more physical tight ends like Ryan Kilpatrick or Brandyn McCall could take line up in place of one of these players.


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