Analyzing Arizona Football’s offensive tackle group heading into the 2024 season

Analyzing Arizona Football’s offensive tackle group heading into the 2024 season

Much of Arizona Football’s offensive line depth is changing, but the starting group will look largely the same. The biggest blow to this group was actually positive: former standout left tackle Jordan Morgan was selected in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers.

However, hope is not lost. Rising star Wendell Moe returns to his spot at left guard, and star right tackle Jonah Savaiinaea is the most talented player of the group. He will return in 2024 to lead Arizona’s offensive line as a last hurray with an eye toward the 2025 NFL Draft.

However, the youth movement is something to pay attention to. Aside from Savaiinaea and incoming San Jose State transfer Ryan Stewart, the rest of the tackles are freshmen with at least three years of eligibility remaining, so offensive line coach Josh Oglesby has plenty of prospects of development to work with.

Jonas Savaiinaea (Junior) | 6’5″ 330 lbs | RT

November 25, 2023;  Tempe, Arizona, United States;  Arizona Wildcats offensive lineman Jonah Savaiinaea (71) against the Arizona State Sun Devils during the Territorial Cup at Mountain America Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Savaiinaea is the headliner of the entire offensive line group. He’s following the path Morgan blazed and has capitalized on the increased visibility he brought to Arizona’s front line. Since he landed in Tucson ahead of the 2022 season, he has started all 25 of the Wildcats’ games and has racked up conference accolades.

The two-time All-Pac-12 honorable mention and Freshman All-American allowed just two sacks in nearly 900 snaps in 2023, and PFF graded him as Arizona’s second-best offensive lineman behind Morgan. Now that the Tucson native is out of the picture, the trench mafia will go as Savaiinaea does.

Raymond Pulido (sophomore) | 6’6″ 335 lbs | LT

Jonah Savaiinaea, Raymond Pulido, Josh Baker

Pulido has a chance to emerge as a stalwart on Arizona’s blind side. After testing the waters of the transfer portal earlier this offseason, the 6-foot-6, 335-pound former Alabama commit, the second-heaviest on the front line, withdrew his name to return to Arizona for Year 2 .

With the new vacancy in front of Savaiinaea and some starting experience already under his belt, the starting left tackle spot could be lost to him. With his recruiting pedigree, he probably could have landed anywhere and Washington would certainly have liked to have him. However, it’s safe to assume that he returned to Arizona because the path to the countryside was wide open.

Michael Wooten (RS Sophomore) | 6’4″ 310 lbs.

Wooten is one of three incoming transfer tackles and has the best chance to force his way into the rotation as a depth piece. He was a three-star recruit out of high school and spent the last two seasons at Oregon, where he played three games in 2022 before missing all of last season with an injury.

Not needing to start will limit his workload and help reduce the likelihood of injury. Listed at 6-foot-4 and 310 pounds, Wooten has a stocky build and will take the field in Tucson with three seasons of eligibility remaining.

Rhino Tapa’atoutai (RS Freshman) | 6’5″ 310 lbs.

Tapa’atoutai is another lineman with Polynesian roots from Southern California on Arizona’s roster. The former three-star prospect out of high school didn’t see any time on the field last season, but his size profile is extremely promising.

At 6-foot-5 and 310 pounds, he’s over the 300-pound threshold and still has room to add weight if necessary. After not cracking the depth chart last season, she will likely move up the depth chart and see a larger role when Pulido needs a breather or if she has a bad game.

Tylen González (RS Freshman) | 6’6″ 305 lbs.

Gonzalez has largely flown under the radar, even in Arizona circles, but could surprise in the fall. He played high school football in Carlbad, New Mexico, as a defensive lineman and was an unranked prospect. However, smaller cities and towns love soccer, so González could be a diamond in the rough.

He made the switch to the offensive side of the ball when he got Arizona and has a phenomenal size profile. Standing at 6-foot-6 and just over 300 pounds, he appears to be an athletic player who already understands the tactics used by defensive linemen. It will be interesting to see how his career develops in Arizona.

ICYMI. MESS. Analyzing Arizona Football’s interior offensive line ahead of the 2024 season. dark

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