Right tackle Brandon Phillips returns after being granted a six year of eligibility by the NCAA. The team's top lineman, Phillips was highly ranked last season before a knee injury cut short his campaign. A tall slender blocker, Phillips plays with a wide base and works hard throughout the action. Needing to physically mature he must improve his blocking strength but offers a good amount of upside for the next level. Phillips has been suspended for the first three games this season after accepting money from an agent when his college eligibility was still an unknown. Center Keoki Fraser is an explosive lineman who immediately gets into blocks, shows adequate footwork in space and is a solid position blocker that walls defenders from the action. Working hard throughout the play he helps out linemates yet is not strong at the point of attack, lacks adjustment and overall blocking range. His tenacity and understanding of the position gives Fraser a chance to be a backup in the NFL. Senior Steve Fleming is a nice sized tight end who possesses the tools to play at the next level. Fluid releasing off the line of scrimmage, Fleming displays good focus, concentration and the ability to make the tough catch with defenders draped on him. Blocking with leverage he gives top effort yet is neither quick nor explosive in any of his actions and must improve his playing strength. Regardless, Fleming is solid late round material. Junior wide out by Biren Early possesses solid size and is consistent in most aspects of his position. Not a physical receiver, Early lacks the speed to stretch defenses deep but looks as though he has the potential to be a fourth receiver in the NFL. Running back Mike Bell is a tough inside ball carrier that displays good vision and solid run instincts. Not an elusive ball handler, he is more of a straight-line back that does not elude defenders or display the ability to create.
On defense Arizona offers a solid pair of junior safeties. Darrell Brooks is a tough centerfielder that comes up the field and squares into tackles. Taking good angles to the action he lacks top playing speed, suddenness and is best in the box. Lamon Means displays solid cover skills in zone as well as an adequate break on the pass. While another who likes to mix it out, Means is not very decisive and lacks top ball skills.