Key returnees: P Matt Aragon (6-5, 220, RS SR), K Lucas Havrisik (6-2, 184, JR), LS Donald Reiter (5-10, 248, RS JR)
Key newcomers: K Nathan Halsell (6-2, 200, FR), LS Seth MacKeller (5-11, 190, FR), P Kyle Ostendorp (6-2, 195, FR), P Cameron Weinberg (6-0, 168, FR)
The big question: Is Havrisik Arizona’s best candidate to make first-team All-Pac-12?
Despite the league’s declining national profile, it remains stocked with premier talent. It’s hard to make first-team all-conference. Heck, UA linebacker Colin Schooler — who did as much for his team as any player in the league — couldn’t even make the second team last year.
Havrisik has as good a shot as anyone. He already has proved he can perform at that level as a kickoff specialist. After notching 63 touchbacks in 93 kickoffs as a freshman, Havrisik improved his percentage as a sophomore. His 81.08 percent touchback rate ranked ninth in the country.
Havrisik was supposed to be the Wildcats’ primary placekicker last season. He started the season in that capacity, struggled a bit and lost the job.
With Josh Pollack having used up his eligibility, the position is Havrisik’s to lose in 2019. Last year’s adversity will only make him more prepared for the role.
Havrisik showed he was in a good place mentally when he came off the bench and nailed 49- and 55-yard field goals against Colorado. Havrisik hadn’t attempted a field goal in a game in over a month. Instead of pouting over losing his job, he worked to get better.
Havrisik’s diligence and determination weren’t lost on Kevin Sumlin, who will rely on the junior as more of a leader this season.
Veteran punter Dylan Klumph, long snapper Nick Reinhardt and holder Jake Glatting are gone. At least one of those spots will be manned by a freshman, maybe more.
Havrisik has proved he’s capable of the spectacular; his 57-yard field goal against Washington State as a freshman tied the school record.
Havrisik now must prove he can be steady. With so many other special-teams spots in flux, Arizona needs Havrisik to become consistent and reliable.
He has done it as kickoff specialist. He showed late last year that he’s capable of doing it as a placekicker.
If he puts it all together, Havrisik will warrant serious consideration for all-conference accolades.