Contenders: Colin Schooler (freshman, 6-0, 226), Brandon Rutt (senior, 6-3, 227), Jacob Colacion (redshirt freshman, 6-1, 218)
Others competing: Josh Brown (freshman, 6-3, 244)
The past: Rutt is one of only two Arizona linebackers with experience, and the other (“stud” DeAndre’ Miller) is injured. Rutt managed 19 tackles, two fumble recoveries and an interception last season. Colacion redshirted as a freshman, and Schooler came to Arizona as a three-star recruit in its 2017 class.
Where it stands: Schooler spent of the Wildcats last open practice with the first unit. That was over a week ago, and Rutt is the only veteran in Arizona’s linebacker room right now with Miller sidelined with an injury. There might not be a favorite yet, but all three seem in line to receive significant playing time, with the freshman Brown possibly contributing if not on defense, than on special teams.
Coachspeak: “He’s a smart kid. He has a high football IQ. And he practices really hard. He’s one of those guys that really has adapted to the tempo.” — linebackers coach Scott Boone, on Schooler
He said it: “It’s pushed me a lot. It’s good to have competition and to keep me on my toes, to keep working to make sure that I can get that starting role.” — Rutt