Countdown To Camp: Tight Ends

Arizona returns their entire tight end unit from a year ago and adds three talented newcomers. With senior Brad Wood manning the helm, this group looks to be a strength for the Wildcat offense this fall.

Starters Returning: Brad Wood
Starters Lost: none
Key Returners: Brandyn McCall, Travis Bell
Others Lost: none Key Newcomers: A.J. Simmons, Cody Anderson, Conan Amituanai
Coach: Dana Dimmel (1st season)

1. Brad Wood 6-2 228 Sr. Tucson, Ariz. (Pima CC) (Sabino)
Wood missed all of the spring with the knee injury that he suffered against ASU. He has since been cleared to play and will enter fall camp at 100%. Wood may actually be heavier than the 228 that he is listed as and is getting to be a better and better blocker, but what he does best is block. Wood was a favorite target of both Richard Kovalcheck and Willie Tuitama and had 27 catches for 304 yards and a team high six scores. This year he is expected to be an even bigger part of the offense and has gotten mention on a few post season award lists.

2. Brandyn McCall 6-4 245 Jr. Honlulu, Hawaii (Golden West JC)
McCall has a final year to make an impact. Last year the junior college transfer was limited with a severe back injury. He played sparingly a year ago but had a very solid spring camp. He led all tight ends with five catches in spring scrimmages and looks like he can be a very good blocker.

3. Travis Bell 6-6 225 So. Castroville, Calif. (North Monterey County)
Bell is a very similar player to Wood as he is a better receiver than he is a blocker. Bell had a great fall camp a year ago but did not see the field until Tuitama took over at QB. The freshman found a comfort level with his former scout team partner and the two hooked up four times, but two of those were for scores. Bell has worked very hard to add muscle and is trying to be a better blocker which will get him on the field more. He does have great height and terrific hands, which make him a favorite target for the Wildcat quarterbacks.

4. Ryan Kilpatrick 6-3 252 Jr. Fort Worth, Texas (All Saints' Episcopal)
Kilpatrick has battled injuries and position changes throughout his Wildcat career. He's a big, bruising player who is much better as a blocker than a pass catcher. He is a good fit for the H-Back position, which is a hybrid TE/FB, and could see most of his time on short yardage situations.

5. Matt Richards 6-4 256 Jr. Cupertino, Calif. (Saint Francis)
The walk-on had a great fall camp and could be in the mix at tight end. He's got good size and solid pass catching ability. He led UA tight ends in receiving yards during spring scrimmages with 49. He probably came out of the spring ahead of Kilpatrick but will have a hard time leapfrogging scholarship players.

A host of young players will also factor in at the position. Their exact spot on the depth chart is tough to determine as they all do different things well and depending on what is a need is where the players could wind up.

Conan Amituanai 6-4 280 Fr. Long Beach, Calif. (Poly High School)
Amituanai is probably destined to be a defensive tackle down the line but he will get his start as a run blocking tight end. With his size and strength he could make a push at immediate playing time on goal line and short yardage situations.

Anderson, Cody TE 6-6 250 Fr. Apache Junction, Ariz. (Apache Junction High)
Some have suggested that Anderson could bulk up and play offensive line, but for now he is a tight end. He's big, athletic and has nice hands. He's another guy who could push for playing time this year.

A.J. Simmons, 6-3 255 Fr. Oakland, Calif. (Bishop O'Dowd HS)
While he was seen as a better defensive prospect than at TE prospect, Simmons has all of the size and speed you'd want in a tight end. There could be a battle between Mike Canales and Mark Stoops.

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