Cam Denson can’t believe it’s already been a year.
A year since he was suiting up for Salpointe Catholic, in the midst of fall camp, getting ready for his senior year, just 2ƒ miles down the road from Arizona Stadium.
On Sunday at UA football media day, he was at the stadium, seated on a couch in the Sands Club at Arizona Stadium, overlooking the north end zone, and the field he’ll soon be playing on.
“I actually haven’t thought about it,” Denson said, then paused. “But, now that I am, yeah it’s crazy. Our first game would be this Friday. We’d be going to Vegas. I remember it like it was yesterday.”
Salpointe’s first game of 2013 was against Liberty, in Las Vegas. The Lancers won 48-7, and Denson scored two touchdowns.
Sunday, he was sitting in the Lowell-Stevens Football Facility, donning a red Wildcats jersey, No. 3, with white pants, and D-E-N-S-O-N stitched across the back.
A few feet away was Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez, seated at his own little round table, reporters shuffling in and out of the facing chairs.
They grilled him about the upcoming season, about Denson’s role, about, of course, the ongoing four-man quarterback competition, amongst other things.
The four quarterbacks in question — Anu Solomon, Jerrard Randall, Jesse Scroggins and Connor Brewer — were the most requested Wildcats on Sunday.
Later, when Jordan Allen walked through the room, his presence was felt as every bit of his 6-foot-5-inch, 263-pound frame stomped around, from interview to interview. Each interview buoyed by his easy-going Southern persona. Allen, from West Monroe, Louisiana, and an LSU transfer defensive lineman, ended each interview with a Southern thank you — “I appreciate you,” he said, over and over, to reporter after reporter.
Sneaking by with less impact, but plenty of interview requests was Kaelin DeBoskie, Denson’s best friend, also from Salpointe, and a 5-foot-6, 155-pound freshman receiver for the Wildcats.
“Things have been great,” DeBoskie said. “I’m just learning the offense, experiencing the competitiveness. And the speed, it’s that Arizona speed.”
The speedy DaVonte’ Neal showed what he meant. At one point, Neal finished an interview with a local TV station, stood up and ran across the long Sands Club room to his next interview spot.
Finally, there was defensive lineman Sani Fuimaono, carrying his 6-1, 288-pound frame on two crutches, as he recovers from a broken foot, suffered just a week before fall camp started.
Fuimaono hasn’t been to one of these things — that is Arizona media day — since 2011.
Back then, Mike Stoops was still head coach, and the event was held at McKale Center. For the last two years, he’s been away from the UA, and from football, on a mission in Chile.
A lot has changed since then.
“All this stuff is here, all the upgrades,” Fuimaono said of the facility. “I had none of this.
“Being back, I know that things are only going to get better.”
Now, Denson is a part of it all, getting ready for the Aug. 29 season opener against UNLV, in the same stadium he was in nine months earlier, guiding the Lancers to a state championship with a blowout win over Scottsdale Chaparral.
“It feels good to be a part of this program, and to grow with these people here,” Denson said. “This entire process has just been good to me.”
The college adjustment isn’t as hard for Denson, a Tucsonan, as it might be for other incoming freshmen.
“I know what’s around, I know what to expect,” Denson said. “I can go home at any time. Nothing, weather-wise, or surrounding me, it’s not an adjustment for me, I already know what’s happening, I’ve already been through it.”
Instead of dealing with the outside pressures that come from being a college freshman, Denson likes being able to focus on the football side of things.
For him, that includes an adjustment in position.
Coming in, he was recruited as a wide receiver out of Salpointe. That’s understandable, considering the 5-11, 168-pound Denson tallied 1,453 receiving yards and 19 touchdowns last year for the Lancers.
Now, out of necessity, and skill, he’s a corner. Shaquille Richardson is off to the NFL, and the Wildcats are in search of someone to replace him, and start opposite senior Jonathan McKnight.
Denson is as good a candidate as any — at Salpointe, as a two-way star, he had seven interceptions in 2013.
“I told coach ‘whatever is good for the team, I’ll do it,’ ” Denson said.
And, he’s looking forward to it.
“As a corner, stopping somebody from catching the ball, it’s just like, so demoralizing for a receiver,” he said.
“And to be the one on defense to come up and make a good tackle, it’s one of the best moments of the game. And, getting interceptions also is just a surreal moment. It’s great.”
Now, he’ll be battling Jarvis McCall, Devin Holiday and Patrick Glover to be the other starter, in the days leading up to the opener.
Regardless, that night, Denson will run out of the tunnel as an Arizona Wildcat.
“I’m looking forward to that moment,” Denson said, “but I can’t describe how I’m going to feel cause I haven’t been through it yet. But when it comes,
“I’ll know right away how it feels and it’s just, it’s gonna be great.”
- Fuimaono’s recovery from his broken foot should take another 6-8 weeks, he said. “I’m ahead of schedule, but we’re playing it smart.”
- DeBoskie, who’s been limited in practice since last week after tweaking a hamstring, said he’ll “be back at full health” for today’s practice.
DeBoskie, listed at 155 pounds on Arizona’s roster, also said he’s added 10 pounds to his frame, and is looking to bulk up 10 to 15 more.
- Rodriguez w
- ill be giving all four quarterbacks a chance through Thursday’s practice, he said, but after walk-through Thursday night the staff will sit down and try to sort it out.
“It’s not neck and neck,” he said. “But all four of them are still getting reps. If one was completely out of it, we wouldn’t give them reps. But because all four have a chance to play some, and maybe a lot, all four get reps this week.”