Arizona Wildcats offensive tackle Fabbians Ebbele and defensive back Jourdon Grandon, suspended for almost all of spring practice, are on pace to return to return to the team in the fall, coach Rich Rodriguez said Tuesday.
“They still have some things to do within the program,” Rodriguez told TucsonCitizen.com.
Ebbele and Grandon, along with two other Arizona football players and a former ex-Wildcat, were involved in a brawl at an off-campus party in early March.
Ebbele and Grandon were facing criminal assault and trespassing charges, although those won’t be pursued.
Rodriguez said from the start that he wanted to let the legal system play out before making a decision on the players’ futures.
Ebbele is a returning starter at right tackle. Grandon started four games last season and likely figures somewhere in the rotation in Arizona’s five-man secondary. But each is behind the curve as the Wildcats learned new schemes on each side of the ball this spring.
“That’s a big question for us — how quickly will they be able to pick up things in fall practice,” Rodriguez said. “Those 15 spring practices are invaluable, especially when you’re teaching new systems.”
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Rodriguez wants to return to the Phoenix area next spring to hold another scrimmage, making it a bigger event next time.
The Wildcats held their first scrimmage of the spring at Glendale Community College on a Saturday afternoon.
“I loved going up there in the spring,” Rodriguez said.
“I think we’ll plan to do that every spring, having a scrimmage and then some alumni functions. There is a lot of interest in our program up there, and if we can bring our program to them, so to speak, even better.”
Rodriguez said he envisions possibly holding a scrimmage in the Valley on a Friday night.
“Maybe a lot of people could come out after work,” he said. “We had a nice crowd this year. I think we could have had a great crowd if I gave them a little more warning. Next time, we’ll give a few months’ warning.”
About 1,000 showed up for the scrimmage at Glendale Community College.
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Rodriguez will have to keep an eye on next week’s major league baseball draft after one of his top recruits — defensive end Dylan Cozens — led the state of Arizona with 19 home runs.
Cozens, a left-handed slugger, hit a walk-off home run to lead Scottsdale Chaparral to the Division I state championship over Phoenix Brophy Prep.
“I think there is always that possibility,” Rodriguez said of Cozens being lured to professional baseball by being a high draft pick. “I’ve dealt with this before.”
Most notably, Pat White was a fourth-round pick in the 2004 baseball draft after signing with West Virginia to play quarterback for Rodriguez. White went on to become of the great players in school history.
Cozens (6-5, 235) signed with the Cats over Boise State and Washington after playing football for only one season.
As for Cozens considering his baseball possibilities, “If it comes to that point, then we’ll present the facts to him as to what his options would be,” Rodriguez said. “Selfishly, we want him to play football, but we’ll see how that goes.”