Line replenished

By Patrick Klein

Arizona Daily Wildcat

The Arizona football team got offensive this recruiting season.

With their offensive line decimated by graduation, the Wildcats made major strides toward filling those holes by signing a handful of newcomers, including a recruit who has never played a down of football.

"I think we could play defense with the group we have right now, minus the recruits, and we'd be fine," Arizona coach Dick Tomey said. "Our biggest concern was the offensive line. We offered nine scholarships (to offensive linemen) and got seven, so I think we got our guys."

Of the 24 players who signed, 10 were from junior colleges, representing a dramatic increase from recent years. Tomey cited the dismal 1991 season when injuries forced many players to give up their redshirt season, causing a glutton of graduates this season as the reason for the need for immediate impact players.

"We wanted guys, especially on the offensive line, big and physical enough to play right now," Tomey said. "We didn't go after projects, we wanted results right now."

Highlighting the newcomers are. . .

Frank Middleton, a 6-foot-5, 305-pound offensive guard from Fort Scott (Kan.) Community College.

"Maybe our toughest recruit," Tomey said of Middleton. "He was all-conference on both the defensive and offensive line, and everybody in the country was after him."

Mark McDonald, a 6-foot-1, 180-pound place kicker from Loyola (Calif.) High School. He will try to replace Lou Groza award-winner Steve McLaughlin.

Said Tomey: "He kicks off the ground now, he doesn't use a tee. He has a very strong leg. So from the kickoff standpoint, we'll be very competitive."

Chima Ugwu is a 6-foot-4, 290-pounder who attended Central Arizona Community College. Ugwu, from Enugu, Nigeria, has never played organized football. He was recruited two years ago by Arizona, and now will finally show up in Tucson. The Wildcats are hoping to use him as a defensive lineman.

Read Next Article