New faces that could make a splash

One of the most exciting parts of fall camp is seeing how the younger players fare. Whether it is our first look at the new freshmen or an extended look at redshirt freshmen, all football fans like to see the top new players.

It is very tough exactly to project who can make an impact early on. A lot of it has to do with opportunity, injuries and other factors. Sometimes the highest rated recruits don't see the field, while the sleeper makes a huge impact.

In the end we won't know exactly which players will make an impact until the season starts, but here is our best guess at some new faces that could see the field this season.

True Freshmen:

Alex Zendejas: The freshman kicker will compete with Jason Bondzio for the starting kicker spot. He's known for his accuracy and of course he has the lineage of the Zendejas family. He hit 8-of-13 field goals last year, including two over 50 yards.

Apai Tuihalamaka: The Cats may not have a pressing need at linebacker, but Tuihalamaka is a talented one. The Cats would love to redshirt him, but if he's one of the best players he will see the field.

Joseph Reese: Where will Reese play? He'll begin his Arizona career in the backfield but there are many who feel he could be just as effective, if not more effective, as a wide receiver. His athleticism is among the team's best. Some shoulder issues have ended his junior and senior seasons and have limited his off-season weight lifting but he is supposed to be 100% for fall camp.

Nicolas Grigsby:Before summer drills there were rumblings that Grigsby could be a guy who could take reps away from the veteran backs. Word out of summer 7-on-7 drills is that he has shown flashes of that ability, but still has a lot to learn. Rushed for 1,273 yards and 11 touchdowns as a senior, including five 200-yard games.

Rob Gronkowski: THE talk of summer workouts has been Gronkowski. The big tight end was the gem of the Wildcat recruiting class, and he is proving why. He's a beast, who can also move and catch. It would be a shock if he is not an instant impact guy.

William Wright: When "Bug" committed to Arizona many people were a little surprised and wondered what the Cats were doing. After all, he was playing at a small school in Oklahoma and was a relative unknown. Whoever unearthed this kid needs praise, if 7-on-7's are any indication, Wright could be a really good one. His summer performance is really impressing his teammates.

Don't count out the other freshmen receivers (Devin Veal, David Roberts) or players like Kaniela Tuipulotu.

Redshirt Freshmen:

A.J. Simmons: Simmons was the best tight end during the spring and should be in the mix come fall. He's big, athletic and made some tough catches during the scrimmages.

Colin Baxter: Expect Baxter to push Blake Kerley at center. He has good size and footwork. He needs to be more consistent with his snaps, but he seems to have all the skills to make things interesting in camp.

D'Aundre Reed: The Cats are pretty loaded with upperclassmen at defensive end, but it will be tough to keep Reed off the field. He has to keep adding size, but all the other skills are apparent.

Delashaun Dean: Dean redshirted last year in an effort to strengthen his surgically repaired knee. He showed glimpses in the spring and the fall could be his time to shine.

Keenyn Crier: Crier may be the most important newcomer. Barring and absolute shock, he will be the punter this season. We've seen how important Danny Baugher and Nick Folk were in terms of field position. Crier has the leg, now he needs the consistency.

In part 2 of the story we will deal with little used veterans and junior college transfers who could make their impact felt.


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