ESPN’s Rittenberg: Arizona Wildcats’ QB room ranks 10th in nation

Mar 17, 2024, 6:00 AM

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)

Led by the final Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Noah Fifita, the Arizona Wildcats’ quarterback room was ranked 10th in the nation and first among Big 12 schools in a new batch of future power rankings on ESPN.

“No position has been transformed more by the rise of the portal than quarterback,” ESPN senior writer Adam Rittenberg noted.

But the biggest reason for optimism in Tucson was about who stayed, and Fifita stuck around to lead Arizona into its first Big 12 season, despite the departure of his former coach, Jedd Fisch.

“The redshirt sophomore must adjust to a new coaching staff led by Brent Brennan and featuring Dino Babers … as offensive coordinator,” Rittenberg said. “Fifita once again will be throwing passes to standout receiver Tetairoa McMillan. He could lead the offense through 2026.”

ESPN pointed to the depth behind Fifita as reason for concern, but Arizona retained Brayden Dorman, the Wildcats’ top recruit in the 2023 class, after he entered the transfer portal following Fisch’s departure.

Fisch did, however, bring Demond Williams Jr., a 2024 four-star out of Basha High in Chandler, with him to Washington after Williams was an early enrollee in Tucson.

Which other Big 12 quarterback situations ranked in the top 25?

14. Utah, headlined by Cam Rising, back for a seventh collegiate season after “lingering knee issues following ACL surgery prevented him from playing last season.”

15. Kansas, headlined by Jalon Daniels, the conference’s preseason offensive player of the year before last season whose preseason back issues kept him out for the season.

20. Kansas State, headlined by Avery Johnson, a top-100 recruit in 2023 “who dazzled in limited work as a true freshman.”

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ESPN’s Rittenberg: Arizona Wildcats’ QB room ranks 10th in nation