Rich Rodriguez wasted little time responding to the arrest of safety Patrick Onwuasor. Within half an hour of a release from the City of Tucson charging the 20-year old with four felonies, the Arizona Wildcats announced that the safety was no longer a part of their football program. With the troubled Onwuasor out of the equation, how does the Arizona secondary stack up for 2013?
Before his arrest, Onwuasor was projected to compete for a significant role in the Arizona defense next season. In 2012, he appeared in 12 games as a safety and on special teams, starting twice, and notched 36 tackles as the primary backup to junior Jared Tevis. While it was highly unlikely Onwuasor would have overtaken the starting job from Tevis or Jourdan Grandon, the other starting safety, he was being looked at as a key backup and the next man up in case of injury or poor play.
The Wildcats have plenty of other young options at safety that they will turn to now in 2013. Wayne Capers Jr. and Will Parks are both sophomores who saw playing time in 2012 and could step up into the primary backup role. Sophomore Anthony Lopez started spring practice listed at linebacker, but was transitioned back to safety and could provide some much needed depth next fall.
While the Wildcats won’t be hurting for bodies to replace Onwuasor, they would have preferred his talent and experience to be available to them in the secondary. Rodriguez and company made the right call, however, and will now push on and find other defensive playmakers that can contribute on the field and keep out of trouble off it.