Arizona lands two on ESPN's 2022 Freshman All-America team
The future is bright in Tucson, and a pair of freshmen Wildcats were recognized by ESPN this week for their roles in making it so.
Wideout Tetairoa McMillan and offensive lineman Jonah Savaiinaea were named to ESPN’s Freshman All-America team as the 2022 season winds down. Savaiinaea was also an honorable mention on the All-Pac-12 teams following the conclusion of the Pac-12 regular season. Both he and McMillan were immediate starters at their respective positions and significant contributors right away.
ESPN writers Tom Luginbill and Tom VanHaaren compiled the offensive and defensive teams for the worldwide leader. The two men differed on several wideouts, but found common ground with McMillan. Here’s what VanHaaren wrote on the Wildcats’ playmaker:
The Wildcats had some standout receivers this season in Dorian Singer and transfer Jacob Cowing, but that didn’t stop McMillan from making waves as well. Despite Singer bringing in 1,105 yards and six touchdowns and Cowing hauling in 1,034 yards and seven touchdowns, McMillan still had 702 yards and eight touchdowns on the season, averaging 18 yards per catch. With Singer transferring this offseason, McMillan should have an even bigger role in 2023.
They were also in agreement on Savaiinaea. VanHaaren wrote the following:
Savaiinaea was a three-star recruit out of Hawaii who had a handful of Power 5 offers. He committed to Arizona and started all 12 games this season. He was part of an offense that ranked No. 22 in total offense and was All-Pac-12 honorable mention, which is rare for a first-year offensive lineman. Savaiinaea was called for just one penalty in 2022.
Only Jalen McMillan (Washington) and Troy Franklin (Oregon) had more touchdown catches than McMillan in the Pac-12 this season. His 18-yards-per-catch average was also the second-best of any qualified receiver in the league. Arizona made quick use of McMillan’s supersized catch radius, with quarterback Jayden de Laura giving him a number of opportunities to just go up over a defender and win a jump ball. His 21 contested targets were the third-most of any Pac-12 receiver this season.
Savaiinaea led all Pac-12 freshmen offensive linemen in snaps this season. He was also one of only five freshmen offensive linemen in the league to make offensive appearances in more than five games. He earned a 76.0 pass-blocking grade from Pro Football Focus — the sixth-best among qualified first-year linemen in the country.