Belshe finally a Wildcat

It has been a wild ride for Matt Belshe. The former Show Low standout comes to the Wildcats after a round about path that saw him commit, de-commit and then transfer from Wyoming. Belshe seems happy that he has a chance to compete for the team he grew up rooting for, even if it took him a little while to get here.

Belshe, a standout quarterback who played small school football in northern Arizona, originally verbally committed to the Wildcats in the fall of 2000. After the resignation of then coach Dick Tomey, Belshe decided that he liked the promise to compete at quarterback at Wyoming and decided to play for the Cowboys. Belshe earned a spot of the travel squad, but did not play in a single game. After the season he decided to leave the program.

"I just made some poor decisions in going to Wyoming," Belshe said.

Belshe quickly contacted the Wildcats and talked to John Mackovic about playing for the Wildcats. Mackovic allowed him to walk on and got a bonus player in doing so.

"Matt contacted us and said he was interested in transferring and said, ‘by the way my brother is coming home from his mission and would like to go to school,'" Mackovic said. "They are very close from what I see."

Belshe's brother Jake had spent two years in South America on his mission and wanted a chance to help out on the defensive line. Belshe is happy to have his brother around.

"It is going good so far," Belshe said. "He's been out of it for a little while, but he'll get back into it. I'm just encouraging him a lot."

The pair, along with Carl Tuitavuki, gives the Cats a couple of older players to go along with 26 18-year olds. Mackovic likes the fact they bring a little added maturity to the group of young players.

"They really bring a nice maturity," said Mackovic. "They have both been somewhere so they kind of understand what it is about."

Belshe also feels that his year at Wyoming will help him adjust to the team. He readily admits that the talent level was inferior at the Mountain West school, but just practicing against Division I players gave him an insight into the collegiate game.

Belshe seems excited to be in Tucson. Not only did he grow up a Wildcat fan, but he gets a chance to be closer to his family. Belshe originally felt that Wyoming's climate would most remind him of his home in northern Arizona, but he soon realized that nothing makes you feel more at home than being a reasonable distance from home.

"I think it was being able to play at home, in front of a home crowd," Belshe said of his decision to come to Arizona. "It was something I wanted to do when I was younger. I think it is going to work out better."

"It gives me a little bit of an edge over the high school guys because of the year of experience in knowing that it is a much faster game and you have to move at a faster pace," said Belshe.

Belshe struggled the first few practices. His timing was off and his passes seemed to be sailing on him. While many observers wondered what was going on, it turned out there was a medical reason for his difficulties.

"I've had a knee problem over the summer so I'm kind of rusty starting off," Belshe confided. "They are still looking at my knee, they aren't sure what's wrong with it. I can't put a lot of weight on my right leg so I'm putting every thing on my back foot so it is hard to throw. Everything is sailing high on me. It is real frustrating but I've got to work through it."

Belshe has started wearing a brace and has quickly adjusted, looking much better the past few practices.

Belshe's role with the team is still up in the air. He is scheduled to run the scout offense this season, but his future at quarterback is still not set in stone. Belshe has the ability to be a contributor at linebacker or safety and could very well be a defensive player when it is all said and done. Belshe makes no secret that he wants to be a quarterback, but getting on the field is more important.

"I'm one of those players who just wants to get out on the field," Belshe said. "They'll talk to me about that and just see how it goes. It doesn't matter what position I play I just want to get on the field."

The two Belshe brothers join Adam Moro of Blue Ridge High School as talented walk-ons from the northern part of the state. All three are paying their own way and have something to prove. Belshe points to past success from area players as a reason to give small school players a serious look.

"You look at good players from the past from the same area," said Belshe. "You look at players like Marcus Bell. You look at Jimmy Sprotte, Scooter Sprotte. You look at a lot of these players have come out of the same area as us and we are just trying to, not necessarily make a statement, but show that we play some good football in 3-A."

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