Signing Day 2007....The Quarterbacks

In the Pacific 10 Conference the play of the Quarterback position is most vital. It also happened to be the worst position, by far, on the roster when Mike Stoops took over the program three years ago. So far the position has been filled with extremely talented signal callers and the newest quarterback on the roster is no different.

When Hawaii quarterback Bryson Beirne signed his letter of intent he solidified the position at Arizona for years to come. He will follow in the footsteps of Willie Tuitama and Tyler Lyon and will add depth to a corps of athletes that is suddenly pretty impressive, especially considering where things were just three short years ago.

Coming into the recruiting cycle for the class of 2007 it was clear that the Wildcats needed to add one more signal caller to the roster. Adding one quarterback a year should be the model for every program around the country and Arizona under Mike Stoops is following that to a tee.

At the conclusion of the 2006 season the Wildcats lost former walk-on turned scholarship quarterback turned starter Adam Austin to graduation. With Austin being the only loss to the quarterback ranks there was no absolute need to add any more than one to the depth chart, although the Cats did in fact add another impressive signal caller in walk-on Jimmy Bevell.

Both Beirne and Bevell will red shirt and play on the scout team during the 2007 season as they are fourth and fifth on the depth chart respectively. This is the first time in years that the Arizona Football program can say that it goes five deep, seriously five deep, and be proud and say it with a straight face.

The pac-10 Conference is an offensive conference built around the play of the quarterback and stellar quarterback play is vital to a program's success, both short term and long term.

The top three quarterbacks on the depth chart are all impressive in their own ways. Starter Willie Tuitama returns for what will hopefully be an injury free junior season. The backup role will be a battle as returning fifth year senior Kris Heavner will battle with Lyon, who is coming off of his red shirt year. The battle should be won early in fall camp by Heavner on experience alone but Lyon will undoubtedly come on as he gets comfortable with the new offensive system being brought in by new Offensive Coordinator Sonny Dykes.

The additions of both Beirne and Bevell make the Arizona quarterback depth chart something it has possibly never been in over 100 years of football. Impressive.

Pre-Recruiting Cycle Need… 1 QB

SIGNED…1 (Bryson Beirne), ENROLLED…1 (Jimmy Bevell) Position Recruiting Grade…A

The Wildcats set their sights on a few signal callers early as they sent out four early offers to some of their top targets. Then the Cats held their annual camp in June of last year and the coaching staff was impressed with Beirne. He showed athleticism, solid mechanics and good arm strength at the camp. Beirne earned a scholarship offer and committed shortly after. The addition of Bevell, who returned from a Mormon Mission, at the semester break adds greatly as he will provide depth in the reserve corps. In the end the coaching staff met and exceeded its need at the quarterback position.

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