It’s been a rough few years for the Arizona football program, but now they have a proven transfer quarterback, Jayden de Laura, leading the Wildcats back.
Arizona football has gone 5-24 combined for the past three seasons and the program’s biggest problem, like many struggling teams, is quarterback inconsistency.
In each of those years, multiple QBs either shared time or struggled to maintain success. However, the trend of poor play at the position seems to be in the rearview mirror when former Washington State starting signal caller Jayden de Laura announced he would be joining the Wildcats for the 2022 season.
The redshirt sophomore QB checks many of the boxes it takes the program and sophomore head coach Jedd Fisch to turn the Wildcats around.
First, de Laura was prolific, throwing for 3,684 yards on 7.5 career yards per attempt and 28 touchdowns against just 13 interceptions in his two-year career as a starter. In addition, he completed 62.5 percent of his throws and added five touchdowns on the ground.
Those numbers are in a completely different stratosphere than the Wildcats’ past two seasons. In 2021, Arizona’s platoon of QBs rushed for 2,716 combined yards, 12 touchdowns against a brutal 18 interceptions at just 6.13 yards per attempt.
The 2020 five-game campaign was about the same, as the Arizona football passing game produced 1,065 yards and six TDs compared to seven INTs at just 5.83 yards per attempt.
Also, the team completed about 60.5 percent of their passes in each of those years. All stats lower than de Laura’s performance.
Now, for the sake of context, the situation at WSU was certainly better than Arizona, but the former Cougars QB is used to success and upped the team’s game in a bowl-bound season last year.
De Laura gives Arizona Football a proven winner
Which brings us to de Laura’s second key attribute, he’s a proven collegiate-level winner. He recorded a 7-4 win-loss mark in 11 starts in 2021. He also did most of that in an awkward situation, when the team started 1-3 and he had to regain his starting job after a few slip-ups. field problems. His solid record included helping the Cougars to a 6-3 run in the final stretch of the year.
Finally, de Laura has savvy skills that can help him with his move to Tucson. He’s not a prototypical passer, measuring 6 feet and weighing 195 pounds, but he fits the ever-growing trend of sawed-off, double-threat passers-by. He’s compact with fast-twitch athleticism and the ability to get to his feet quickly and blast the ball with plenty of speed.
He’s also accurate and has great ball placement, which was no doubt helped by playing on a pass-first offensive like Wazzu’s run-and-shoot. It’s a system that relies heavily on the QB making a high percentage of throws and staying one step ahead of the sticks. The weight of offense always rests on a QB’s shoulders, but there’s an extra burden to carry on the run-and-shoot, and de Laura wasn’t swayed by that pressure.
He also didn’t take what the defense gave him, as evidenced by his 7.5 yards per attempt. He ripped a lot of throws into tight windows, threw long-distance passes with touch, and hit receivers in the crotch on short walks, resulting in extra yards from catches.
De Laura understands when to use touch and when to kick in a ball. An important trait when it comes to throwing a nice, catchable ball for the wideout.
Those are passing traits he displayed a few times in the Cougars’ win over his new team last fall (video courtesy of the Pac-12 Network). It’s difficult to put yourself in a situation where losing has become commonplace, but de Laura is well equipped to handle the situation.