Bryson Beirne’s sprained right knee and indefinite absence moves the spotlight closer to true freshman quarterback Daxx Garman.
With Beirne out, Garman is one of three scholarship quarterbacks who are eligible this season for the Arizona Wildcats. The others are starter Nick Foles and Matt Scott — and Scott wants to redshirt this season.
If it’s a long-term emergency, the coaches will have to play Scott, of course, but Garman could be needed to take some snaps in a short-term situation.
Who is this kid?
His most recent address before arriving at Arizona in the spring was Southlake, Texas, although he was ruled ineligible to play last season at powerhouse Carroll High school after his family moved from Jones, Okla. You can read some details about that from the Dallas Morning News.
Garman graduated early and had the benefit of spring practice at Arizona, then spent the summer trying to add strength to his 6-foot-2, 175-pound frame. The difference is dramatic when he stands next to Foles — who has about 65 pounds and three inches of height on him.
“It was a great opportunity to get to know the old guys better, to get more advanced as far as the playbook goes, reading defenses,” Garman said of being here in the spring.
Arizona strength coach Corey Edmond, especially in the summer, made sure Garman made physical strides, working on the young quarterback’s legs and core muscles.
“I can tell a big difference in my arm strength,” Garman said. “I have a lot more on the ball, and I’m using my legs more. It takes a lot of stress of my arm as far as that goes.”
Arizona fans likely can take an extended look at Garman at Saturday’s Meet the Team night at Arizona Stadium. The gates open at 5 p.m., and the scrimmage will start at 6 p.m. The Wildcats will sign autographs afterward.
Garman was rated a three-star recruit by Rivals.com, but it’s hard to say how that rating would have been affected had he played as a senior.
Quarterbacks coach Frank Scelfo said Garman’s presence in the spring removed the freshman jitters and has allowed Garman to find a comfort zone in fall camp.
“He went through spring and, c’mon, he should have been going to the senior prom,” Scelfo said.
“But he was out here battling away, and that’s a tough deal. Now, he knows where he’s at. He knows his place. He feels comfortable.”
And Scelfo wasn’t just talking about on the football field.
“He knows how to get around campus; he knows how to get around town. All the guesswork and the anxiety are gone. He can focus in more on football rather than where he parked his car and if he is going to get a ticket.”
For Garman, now, it’s full speed ahead.