Aug. 2, 2001
TUCSON - The University of Arizona's 2001 football training camp began in earnest Thursday with the official check-in of 26 rookie players who will start their Wildcat careers with orientation programs, physical examinations and fundamental practices the next several days.
Aside from expressions of enthusiasm for entering his first regular-season activities as UA's head coach, John Mackovic took a philosophical view of reporting date. "The first recruiting class for a coach - and that particular group of people - always creates a special bond. The new players agreed to come here without seeing what's on the field. They have a certain dream, like the coach does," he said.
"They always can say, 'I was in that first class,' and it's a fun group because of that. These players come here with a clean slate and like to write on it," Mackovic said.
Mackovic, formerly a head coach at Wake Forest, Illinois and Texas, as well as the Kansas City Chiefs, took over the UA program Dec. 4. He worked as an ESPN college football analyst for the past three seasons.
UA's veteran players return Monday and the team will participate in Media Day activities Tuesday before the start of full-team camp Wednesday, Aug. 8.
Mackovic's staff welcomed 16 players signed to grants-in-aid during the spring recruiting period and brought in 10 other non-scholarship student-athletes Thursday. Two February signees, wide receiver Robert Spells and linebacker Bret Stray, did not meet admission standards and did not report.
Six players named to various prep All-America teams are among the reporting class including quarterback Nic Costa of Aloha, Ore., tailback Mike Bell of Phoenix, tight end Brad Brittain of Encinitas, Calif., tailback Gainus Scott of La Porte, Texas, offensive lineman Brandon Hopkins of Mesa, Ariz., and linebacker Pedro Limon of Douglas, Ariz.
The early schedule for the rookies includes practices at 8:45 a.m. and 7:45 p.m. Friday. "The chance to get out quickly on the field and run around some will help to get the nervousness out," Mackovic said. "They'll calm down so much more with that physical activity." New players also will practice Saturday then participate in academic orientation, placement testing and off-the-field team activities Sunday and Monday.
Arizona 2001 Rookies
John Abramo DT Freshman Los Altos Hills, Calif.
Mike Bell HB Freshman Phoenix, Ariz.
Brad Brittain TE Freshman Encinitas, Calif.
Darrell Brooks DB Freshman Moreno Valley, Calif.
Copeland Bryan DE Freshman San Jose, Calif.
Nic Costa QB Freshman Beaverton, Ore.
Jesse Gran QB Freshman Buckley, Wash.
DeMarcus Green DB Freshman Glendale, Ariz.
Brandon Hopkins OL Freshman Mesa, Ariz.
Kirk Johnson DB Freshman Oakland, Calif.
Sean Jones FB Freshman Houston, Texas
Landon Kafentzis DB Freshman Richland, Wash.
Nicholas Kredit DE Freshman Tempe, Ariz.
Matt Lam DT Freshman San Jose, Calif.
Pedro Limon LB Freshman Douglas, Ariz.
Nick McCalmont LB Freshman Issaquah, Wash.
Osvaldo Ortiz OL Freshman Nogales, Ariz.
Matthew Page OL Freshman Kingwood, Texas
Gainus Scott HB Freshman La Porte, Texas
Antoine Singfield FB Freshman Moreno Valley, Calif.
Ryan Slack K Freshman Tucson, Ariz.
Kyle Snell LB Freshman Issaquah, Wash.
Thomas Stevens OL Freshman Los Angeles, Calif.
Isaac Watts DE Freshman Alameda, Calif.
Matt Wiegand OL Freshman Arcadia, Calif.
Carlos Williams TE Freshman Denver, Colo.