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Top 50 football players in Arizona Wildcats history: No. 24 Nick Foles

Photo illustration by azcentral sports.

Photo illustration by azcentral sports.

Position, years at UA: Quarterback, 2009-2011

Honors, accomplishments at UA: Is the school’s career leader with 10,011 passing yards. … Has the second-best single-season mark in Pac-12 history with 4,226 yards of total offense in 2011. … Completed and attempted more passes (933 of 1,396) than any QB in UA history.

Why he made our list: UA, through its Pac-10 years (and longer), struggled to find a quarterback who had an NFL arm, NFL skills and an NFL stature. And then along came Nick Foles, who had once committed to Arizona State, signed with Michigan State and became a Wildcat after one season in East Lansing, Mich.

Foles originally lost the quarterback competition with Matt Scott in 2009 but took over in the fourth game of that season and went on to become the most accomplished passer in school history. Foles and the spread offense meant UA increasingly was reliant on the pass during his time; he threw for at least 350 yards in nine of his 12 games as a senior.

He threw for 1,160 yards and 10 touchdowns in three games vs. Oregon, leading Ducks coach Chip Kelly — now Foles’ coach with the Philadelphia Eagles — to remark in 2011: “I catch myself watching him in awe sometimes. … Nick is a hell of a football player. That kid’s a warrior. He’s as good as anyone in the country.”

Foles tied Willie Tuitama in the school’s record book for most touchdown passes in a season (28) and for a career (67). He was the 10th player in conference history to reach 10,000 career passing yards.

Though the program struggled during the back half of his career, Foles did have a senior high note at Arizona State, completing 6 of 6 passes on a 94-yard touchdown drive with the Wildcats trailing 27-17 in the fourth quarter. That was the impetus UA needed, as the Wildcats rallied to win 31-27.

Life after college: The Eagles selected Foles in the third round of the 2012 NFL draft, No. 88 overall, but didn’t put him in a game until Nov. 11 when starter Michael Vick suffered a concussion. Foles’ debut marked 39 years — to the day — since a former UA quarterback had thrown a pass in the NFL.

Foles started six consecutive games for the Eagles, with mixed results, the highlight coming on a 1-yard, last-play touchdown pass to Jeremy Maclin for a 23-21 win over Tampa Bay.

He is competing with Vick for the starting spot in training camp under Kelly, in his first season.

In partnership with the Arizona Republic, we are counting down the top 50 football players in Arizona Wildcats history. Leave your top 10 at AG’s Wildcat Report on Facebook, and check out azcentral.com for the countdown of ASU’s Top 50 football players.

Arizona’s top 50

No. 50 — LaMonte Hunley

No. 49 — Hubie Oliver

No. 48 — Rob Gronkowski

No. 47 — Jim Donarski

No. 46 — Ontiwaun Carter

No. 45 — Steve McLaughlin

No. 44 — John Fina

No. 43 — Glenn Parker

No. 42 — Bobby Lee Thompson

No. 41 — Marcus Bell

No. 40 — Fred W. Enke

No. 39 — Ka’Deem Carey

No. 38 — Juron Criner

No. 37 — Dana Wells

No. 36 — Tom Tunnicliffe

No. 35 — Bruce Hill

No. 34 — Chuck Osborne

No. 33 — Brandon Sanders

No. 32 — Sean Harris

No. 31 — Mike Thomas

No. 30 — Bobby Wade

No. 29 — T Bell

No. 28 — Joe Salave’a

No. 27 — Eddie Wilson

No. 26 — Chuck Levy

No. 25 — Allan Durden

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