Aug. 5, 2002
TUCSON - University of Arizona head coach John Mackovic and staff welcomed a Wildcat football rookie class of 29 freshmen and other newcomers on reporting date Monday, signaling the start of fall training camp.
UA will field a team of 105 at the end of this week after veterans report Thursday. The newcomers who arrived on campus Monday will spend the next several days in orientation programs, plus practice twice on Tuesday and Wednesday.
"Although it's the second class we've signed, it's the first one we followed from the beginning to the end," Mackovic said. "This time we had a game plan from the start for the kinds of young people we wanted to bring into the program." He was named coach in December 2001, in the middle of UA's football recruiting efforts that year.
"I felt strongly in February after signing date that this group would be the nucleus of a great legacy at Arizona, and feel that more so now," Mackovic said.
The staff brought in six non-scholarship players not previously listed on UA rosters including redshirt freshman quarterback Matt Belshe, a transfer from Wyoming; his brother, Jake, a freshman defensive lineman; freshman safety Adam Moro; freshman running back Seth Crozier, freshman offensive lineman Eric Levitre, freshman tight end Mitchell Willis and freshman wide receiver Willis Morrison.
The new group went through equipment check, physical examinations and an evening dinner at Mackovic's home on Monday. It will have orientation sessions and practice on campus at 7:30 a.m. and 7:45 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, then have exclusive orientation sessions Thursday when veterans report.
Arizona football Media Day is scheduled at 2:30 p.m. Friday. The entire team will practice at 8:25 a.m. and 7:10 p.m. Saturday at UA's Rincon Vista facility on South Tucson Boulevard.
Several signees from the February class did not report Monday. Freshman linebacker Marlon Brisco of Inglewood, Calif., still has transcripts being evaluated, and Mackovic said he's expected to be able to report at a later date. Freshman halfback Ra'Shawn Mosley of San Antonio, Texas, has opted to attend a junior college, Mackovic said..
The 2002 Arizona Rookie Class:
Akin Akinniyi LB 5-11 220 Fr. Carrollton, Texas (Creekview HS) Danny Baugher P 5-10 185 Fr. Phoenix, Ariz. (Mountain Pointe HS) Tanner Bell OT 6-8 324 Fr. Castroville, Calif. (N. Monterey County HS) Jake Belshe DL 6-2 256 Fr. Eagar, Ariz. (St. Johns HS) Matt Belshe* QB 6-1 225 Fr-RS Eagar, Ariz. (Show Low HS/Wyoming) Beau Carr RB 5-10 206 Fr. Spring, Texas (Westfield HS) Seth Crozier RB 6-0 198 Fr. Pinetop, Ariz. (Blue Ridge HS) Biren Ealy WR 6-2 175 Fr. Houston, Texas (Cypress Falls HS) Nicholas Folk PK 6-1 180 Fr. Sherman Oaks, Calif. (Notre Dame HS) Gilbert Harris FB 6-1 211 Fr. San Antonio, Texas (Churchill HS) Keith Jackson OT 6-5 312 Fr. Inglewood, Calif. (Inglewood HS) Mike Jefferson WR 6-2 195 Fr. El Paso, Texas (Parkland HS) Spencer Larsen LB 6-1 221 Fr. Gilbert, Ariz. (Highland High School) Kili Lefotu OL 6-5 298 Fr. Riverside, Calif. (Arlington HS) Eric Levitre OL 6-1 276 Fr. Santa Cruz, Calif. (San Lorenzo Valley HS) John McKinney LB 6-0 220 Fr. Copperas Cove, Texas (CCHS) Jason Martin CB 5-10 175 Fr. Pasadena, Calif. (Muir HS) Lamon Means S 6-3 190 Fr. Galena Park, Texas (Galena Park HS) Adam Moro SS 5-10 185 Fr. Pinetop, Ariz. (Blue Ridge HS) Willis Morrison WR 5-11 170 Fr. Flagstaff, Ariz. (Sinagua HS) Ryan O=Hara QB 6-6 195 Fr. Pasadena, Calif. (Muir HS) Matt Padron TE 6-5 259 Fr. San Antonio, Texas (Clark HS) John Parada OT 6-8 326 Fr. Alta Loma, Calif. (Alta Loma HS) Paul Philipp DE 6-2 265 Fr. San Bernardino, Calif. (SBHS) Gary Shepard CB 5-10 180 Fr. Spring, Texas (Westfield HS) Marcus Smith DE 6-5 220 Fr. San Diego, Calif. (Mission Bay HS) Carl Tuitavuki DT 6-3 350 Jr. Oakland, Calif. (San Leandro/Ricks CC Tim Volk DE 6-2 260 Fr. Thousand Oaks, Calif. (Notre Dame HS) Mitchell Willis TE 5-11 170 Fr. Queen Creek, Ariz. (Queen Creek HS)