Brian Wagner was a huge producer for the Akron Zips. He was clearly one of their most talented players, racking up the second most tackles in FBS football behind likely lottery pick Luke Kuechly of Boston College. Wagner decided that he wanted to use his last year of eligibility at a big-time program.
Akron’s Brian Wagner, who has one season to play and is immediately eligible as a graduate student, told the UA coaches Sunday morning that he is coming to Tucson, hoping to start classes Wednesday for the spring semester.
He played middle linebacker in a 4-3 scheme at Akron. Exactly where he fits into Arizona’s scheme is to be determined, Wagner said, with the Cats presumably running a 3-3-5, no matter who coach Rich Rodriguez eventually brings in as defensive coordinator.
Wagner said secondary coach Tony Gibson — the only defensive assistant on staff right now — explained that Wagner could fit into any of the three linebacker positions. Elsewhere at linebacker, Arizona has Jake Fischer coming back from an ACL injury, plus sophomores-to-be Rob Hankins and Hank Hobson.
Arizona had a strong offense in 2011, but their defense was a broken toaster. The Wildcats got gashed again, and again, and again, particularly in a linebacking corps that was no match for the offensive firepower in the Pac-12 week in and week out. Wagner can become one of the main contributors almost instantly and give Arizona at least some talent at the linebacking position, and hopefully limit the big plays the Wildcats were so good at giving up last season.
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