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April 12, 2013

As Scott's stock soars, ante is upped for UA quarterbacks

National Football League general managers are getting acquainted with former Arizona quarterback Matt Scott this week - and UA football fans are getting acquainted with Scott's possible replacements.

UA football hosts its annual spring game on Saturday, and the topic of conversation emanating from it is almost sure to be the race to take over Scott's old job as starting quarterback.

Quarterback competitions are almost clichéd this time of year. Even those coaches with established starters are quick to let media know that no job is safe, everyone is competing, yada yada yada. But for Rich Rodriguez, the rhetoric is very much real.

B.J. Denker and Javelle Allen culminate their 15-practice jockeying. Transfers Jesse Scroggins and Nick Isham have been rehabbing injuries, but should factor into the competition. Ballyhooed freshman Anu Solomon joins the mix in the summer.

Scroggins' big, powerful arm has drawn attention, despite his limited availability. The praise he earned from Rivals.com as a USC recruit adds intrigue to his place on the Wildcat roster: "He is very mobile for a pro-style quarterback and can buy the extra time in the pocket to extend plays as defenses break down. He also has serious zip and accuracy on his intermediate passes."

The snaps Denker logged in 2012, relieving an injured Scott midway through the Pac-12 Conference slate, would seemingly give him an advantage.

"B.J. Denker has had a very productive spring," offensive coordinator Rod Smith told reporters at the conclusion of practice last week. "He probably has the greatest grasp of what we're doing offensively. He understands where the ball needs to go and what it needs to do at certain times."

A grasp of the spread option and understanding of where and how to place the ball? Sounds similar to Scott in his breakout, redshirt senior season.

On the topic of Scott, he is introducing himself to professional front office management this week. The Cleveland Browns, Buffalo Bills and Denver Broncos all called on the All-Conference honoree for visits in the last week.

The draft is two weeks away, and the relative uncertainty among this year's class of quarterbacks gives a window of opportunity to make moves. Scott has burst through that window in recent weeks. NFL.com analyst Gil Brandt highlighted Scott as a prospect whose draft stock improved as a result of his pro day.

Scott's growing portfolio only lengthens the shadow the winner of this offseason's quarterback competition is stepping into. From two program record setters in Willie Tuitama and Nick Foles, and what could be consecutive NFL draftees in Foles and Scott, the bar is raised for future Wildcat play callers.

UA is not exactly on the verge of supplanting USC as the Pac-12's designated Quarterback U., but expectations are certainly higher than they were less than a decade ago.

Kyle KensingKyle Kensing
GOAZCATS.com Staff Writer

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