Brennan: Return of Noah Fifita, Tetairoa McMillan ‘speaks to character of those 2 men’

Jan 22, 2024, 4:04 PM

Wide receiver Tetairoa McMillan #4 of the Arizona Wildcats celebrates with Noah Fifita #11 after ca...

Wide receiver Tetairoa McMillan #4 of the Arizona Wildcats celebrates with Noah Fifita #11 after catching a 50-yard touchdown reception against the Arizona State Sun Devils during the second half of the NCAAF game at Mountain America Stadium on November 25, 2023 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

When former Arizona Wildcats head coach Jedd Fisch decided to jump ship to Washington, the magnifying glass quickly turned to quarterback Noah Fifita and wide receiver Tetairoa McMillan.

Despite the program coming off a 10-3 mark and an Alamo Bowl win, would the loss of Fisch and most of his coaching staff be the tip of the iceberg of what’s to come?

Fifita and McMillan answered that question Saturday with the announcement they were staying put under new head coach Brent Brennan.

Their decision to run it back signifies their dedication to the program and what kind of men Brennan wants leading his team.

“It speaks to the character of those two young men,” Brennan told Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo on Monday. “I give coach Fisch and that staff a lot of credit. They had a great season and the players in this program are really committed to each other. You do that through a lot of hard work. … With these players, there’s real love there and they wanted to keep this group together.

“When Noah and T-Mac told me what they wanted to do, it was a really cool moment, but it speaks more to their leadership and who they are. They care about the University of Arizona, they care about this football program, they care about this team. They knew that their decision could have a big impact on the team, so they continued to build off the momentum from last season and keep this thing going as best we can.”

Fifita gets ready for another season after taking over as QB1 midway through the year and throwing for 2,869 yards and 25 touchdowns to six interceptions on 72.4% passing across 12 games (nine starts). For his efforts, he was named Pac-12 Freshman Offensive Player of the Year.

Tetairoa meanwhile reeled in 90 balls for 1,402 yards and 10 touchdowns, all career marks, in his second season with Arizona.

They weren’t the only Wildcats to announce their return on Saturday, either, with safeties Dalton Johnson and Gunner Maldonado and cornerback Treydan Stukes opting to run it back.

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