TUCSON, Ariz. — Redshirt freshman Anu Solomon emerged from a four-way race and will be Arizona’s season-opening quarterback.
Solomon will debut against his hometown team UNLV on Friday night at Arizona Stadium, though coach Rich Rodriguez said the other quarterbacks may still see action.
“As I told the quarterbacks last night, it doesn’t mean he plays the whole game or he’ll be the starter the rest of the season,” Rodriguez said. “But I also don’t want any quarterback to ever go in there and think, ‘As soon as I make a mistake, I’m coming out.’ That’s not going to be the case either.”
Solomon beat out former USC quarterback Jesse Scroggins, former LSU quarterback Jarrard Randall and Texas transfer Connor Brewer.
“I don’t know who the next guy is,” Rodriguez said. “I told all four to be ready to play.”
The 6-foot-2, 205-pound Solomon was the centerpiece of Arizona’s 2013 recruiting class, a four-time Nevada state champion at Bishop Gorman High School. He redshirted last season behind now-departed B.J. Denker and will become the first freshman to start a season-opener at quarterback for Arizona since the Wildcats joined the Pac-10 in 1978.
Rodriguez said Solomon was “too chill” at times while redshirting, and the coaches have worked to bring out the quarterback’s more vocal, assertive side.
“Chill, that’s the word they use a lot,” Solomon said earlier in camp. “But that’s just my personality. I’m just the chill guy in the back. But then, you know, when the lights turn on, you have to flip the switch and be that hungry guy who just wants it all.”
In Arizona’s zone-read offense, Solomon isn’t expected to match the rushing stats of Denker, who set a school quarterback rushing record with 949 yards last season.
Solomon, though, had the consistently best all-around game among the quarterbacks in camp.
“It’s not an elaborate theory or anything like that,” Rodriguez said. “It’s just something that the coaches and myself, in particular, felt he was playing the best out of all four quarterbacks. He’s got a good feel for the game. He just did more things better on a consistent basis to get the start.”