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Golfweek's Best 2022: Top public and private golf courses in Arizona

Arizona is a gifted golf state, with desert courses of all kinds to suit any budget or taste. Especially in the region of Phoenix and Scottsdale, there are miles and miles of fairways to welcome residents, visitors and seasonal snowbirds alike.Tops among the public-access offerings is We-Ko-Pa’s Saguaro Cour...

Arizona is a gifted golf state, with desert courses of all kinds to suit any budget or taste. Especially in the region of Phoenix and Scottsdale, there are miles and miles of fairways to welcome residents, visitors and seasonal snowbirds alike.

Tops among the public-access offerings is We-Ko-Pa’s Saguaro Course, designed by famed architects Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw and which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. One of two courses at the facility operated by a casino next door, the Saguaro Course ranks No. 1 in Arizona on Golfweek’s Best Courses You Can Play list for each state.

Golfweek’s Best offers many lists of course rankings, with the list of top public-access courses among the most popular. All the courses on this list allow public access in some fashion, be it standard daily green fees, through a resort or by staying at an affiliated hotel. If there’s a will, there’s a tee time.

Also popular are the Golfweek’s Best rankings of top private courses in each state, and that list is likewise included below.

1. We-Ko-Pa (Saguaro) Fort McDowell (m) Book your round at We-Ko-Pa’s Saguaro Course

2. Wickenburg Ranch Wickenburg (m)

3. Quintero Peoria (m)

4. TPC Scottsdale (Stadium) Scottsdale (m) Book your round at TPC Scottsdale’s Stadium Course

5. Golf Club at Dove Mountain (Saguaro/Tortolita) Marana (m)

6. Ventana Canyon (Mountain) Tucson (m)

7. Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Maricopa (m) Book your round at Ak-Chin Southern Dunes

8. We-Ko-Pa (Cholla) Fort McDowell (m) Book your round at We-Ko-Pa’s Cholla Course

9. Troon North (Monument) Scottsdale (m) Book your round at Troon North’s Monument Course

10. Troon North (Pinnacle) Scottsdale (m) Book your round at Troon North’s Pinnacle Course

11. Grayhawk (Raptor) Scottsdale (m) Book your round at Grayhawk’s Raptor Course

12. Grayhawk (Talon) Scottsdale (m) Book your round at Grayhawk’s Talon Course

13. Sewailo Tucson (m)

14. Boulders Resort (South) Carefree (m) Book your round at Boulders Resort’s South Course

15. Tucson National (Catalina) Tucson (m)

16. La Paloma (Ridge/Canyon) Tucson (m)

17. Boulders Resort (North) Carefree (m) Book your round at Boulders Resort’s North Course

18. Gold Canyon Golf Resort (Dinosaur Mountain) Gold Canyon (m)

19. Las Sendas Mesa (m)

20. Papago Phoenix (m)

21. Verrado (Founders) Buckeye (m)

22. Legacy Phoenix (m)

23. Whirlwind (Cattail) Chandler (m)

24. TPC Scottsdale (Champions) Scottsdale (m) Book your round at TPC Scottsdale’s Champions Course

25. SunRidge Canyon Fountain Hills (m) Book your round at SunRidge Canyon

26. Starr Pass Tucson (m)

27. Sedona Golf Resort Sedona (m)

28. Camelback (Ambiente) Scottsdale (m)

29. Wildfire at Desert Ridge (Faldo Championship) Phoenix (m)

30. Los Caballeros Wickenburg (m)

Estancia in Arizona (Courtesy of Estancia)

1. Estancia Scottsdale (T19m)

2. Desert Forest Carefree (T47m)

3. Scottsdale National (The Other Course) Scottsdale (m)

4. The Rim Payson (m)

5. Forest Highlands (Canyon) Flagstaff (m)

6. Whisper Rock (Upper) Scottsdale (m)

7. Whisper Rock (Lower) Scottsdale (m)

T8. Desert Highlands Scottsdale (m)

T8. Stone Canyon Oro Valley (m)

10. Silverleaf Scottsdale (m)

11. Troon CC Scottsdale (m)

T12. Mirabel Scottsdale (m)

T12. Pine Canyon Flagstaff (m)

14. Forest Highlands (Meadow) Flagstaff (m)

15. Torreon (Cabin) Show Low (m)

16. Desert Mountain (Cochise) Scottsdale (m)

17. Flagstaff Ranch Flagstaff (m)

18. Paradise Valley CC* Paradise Valley (c)

19. Desert Mountain (Chiricahua)* Scottsdale (m)

20. The Gallery (North) Marana (m)

(m): Modern course, built in or after 1960 (c): Classic course, built before 1960 Note: If a course has a number in the parenthesis, that indicates the course’s ranking on either the prestigious Golfweek’s Best Top 200 Modern or Classic course lists.

The hundreds of members of the Golfweek’s Best ratings panel continually evaluate courses and rate them based on 10 criteria on a points basis of 1 through 10. They also file a single, overall rating on each course. Those overall ratings are averaged to produce these rankings.

We occasionally recommend interesting products, services, and gaming opportunities. If you make a purchase by clicking one of the links, we may earn an affiliate fee. Golfweek operates independently, though, and this doesn’t influence our coverage.

Golfweek's Best 2022: Arizona's top public, private golf courses

Golfweek/USA TODAY SportsArizona is a gifted golf state with desert courses of all kinds to suit any budget or taste. Especially in the region of Phoenix and Scottsdale, there are miles and miles of fairways to welcome residents, visitors and seasonal snowbirds alike.Tops among the public-access offerings is We-Ko-Pa’s Saguaro Course, designed by famed architects Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw and which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. One of two courses at the facility operated by a casino next door...

Golfweek/USA TODAY Sports

Arizona is a gifted golf state with desert courses of all kinds to suit any budget or taste. Especially in the region of Phoenix and Scottsdale, there are miles and miles of fairways to welcome residents, visitors and seasonal snowbirds alike.

Tops among the public-access offerings is We-Ko-Pa’s Saguaro Course, designed by famed architects Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw and which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. One of two courses at the facility operated by a casino next door, the Saguaro Course ranks No. 1 in Arizona on Golfweek’s Best Courses You Can Play list for each state.

Golfweek’s Best offers many lists of course rankings, with the list of top public-access courses among the most popular. All the courses on this list allow public access in some fashion, be it standard daily green fees, through a resort or by staying at an affiliated hotel. If there’s a will, there’s a tee time.

Also popular are the Golfweek’s Best rankings of top private courses in each state, and that list is likewise included below. Key: (m) denotes modern course, built in or after 1960; (c) denotes classic course, built before 1960.

Golfweek's Best public-access courses in Arizona

1. We-Ko-Pa (Saguaro), Fort McDowell (m)

2. Wickenburg Ranch, Wickenburg (m)

3. Quintero, Peoria (m)

4. TPC Scottsdale (Stadium), Scottsdale (m)

5. Golf Club at Dove Mountain (Saguaro/Tortolita), Marana (m)

6. Ventana Canyon (Mountain), Tucson (m)

7. Ak-Chin Southern Dunes, Maricopa (m)

8. We-Ko-Pa (Cholla), Fort McDowell (m)

9. Troon North (Monument), Scottsdale (m)

10. Troon North (Pinnacle), Scottsdale (m)

11. Grayhawk (Raptor), Scottsdale (m)

12. Grayhawk (Talon), Scottsdale (m)

13. Sewailo, Tucson (m)

14. Boulders Resort (South), Carefree (m)

15. Tucson National (Catalina), Tucson (m)

16. La Paloma (Ridge/Canyon), Tucson (m)

17. Boulders Resort (North), Carefree (m)

18. Gold Canyon Golf Resort (Dinosaur Mountain), Gold Canyon (m)

19. Las Sendas, Mesa (m)

20. Papago, Phoenix (m)

21. Verrado (Founders), Buckeye (m)

22. Legacy, Phoenix (m)

23. Whirlwind (Cattail), Chandler (m)

24. TPC Scottsdale (Champions), Scottsdale (m)

25. SunRidge Canyon, Fountain Hills (m)

26. Starr Pass, Tucson (m)

27. Sedona Golf Resort, Sedona (m)

28. Camelback (Ambiente), Scottsdale (m)

29. Wildfire at Desert Ridge (Faldo Championship), Phoenix (m)

30. Los Caballeros, Wickenburg (m)

Golfweek's Best private courses in Arizona

1. Estancia, Scottsdale (T19, m)

2. Desert Forest, Carefree (T47, m)

3. Scottsdale National (The Other Course), Scottsdale (m)

4. The Rim, Payson (m)

5. Forest Highlands (Canyon), Flagstaff (m)

6. Whisper Rock (Upper), Scottsdale (m)

7. Whisper Rock (Lower), Scottsdale (m)

T8. Desert Highlands, Scottsdale (m)

T8. Stone Canyon, Oro Valley (m)

10. Silverleaf, Scottsdale (m)

11. Troon CC, Scottsdale (m)

T12. Mirabel, Scottsdale (m)

T12. Pine Canyon, Flagstaff (m)

14. Forest Highlands (Meadow), Flagstaff (m)

15. Torreon (Cabin), Show Low (m)

16. Desert Mountain (Cochise), Scottsdale (m)

17. Flagstaff Ranch, Flagstaff (m)

18. Paradise Valley CC*, Paradise Valley (c)

19. Desert Mountain (Chiricahua)*, Scottsdale (m)

20. The Gallery (North), Marana (m)

Note: If a course has a number in parenthesis, that indicates the course’s ranking on either the prestigious Golfweek’s Best Top 200 Modern or Classic course lists.

Rowan's Ogden, MSU's St. Pierre, WP's Bickart Earn NJAC Women's Volleyball Weekly Honors

PITMAN, NJ --- The New Jersey Athletic Conference has announced its women's volleyball weekly honors for the week ending Sept. 11.PLAYER OF THE WEEK NATALIE OGDEN • Rowan University Senior • Outside Hitter • Downingtown, PA/Bishop ShanahanOgden is named NJAC Player of the Week after a monster week led Rowan to three more wins to bring the Profs’ record to an unblemished 7-0. She averaged 4.27 kills, 5.05 points, and 2.91 digs while recording eight services aces and swinging .268. She...

PITMAN, NJ --- The New Jersey Athletic Conference has announced its women's volleyball weekly honors for the week ending Sept. 11.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK NATALIE OGDEN • Rowan University Senior • Outside Hitter • Downingtown, PA/Bishop Shanahan

Ogden is named NJAC Player of the Week after a monster week led Rowan to three more wins to bring the Profs’ record to an unblemished 7-0. She averaged 4.27 kills, 5.05 points, and 2.91 digs while recording eight services aces and swinging .268. She reached double-digit kills in all three matches and had double-doubles in two of the three. In Tuesday’s win over Muhlenberg, Ogden hit the 1,000 career dig milestone. She scooped nine against the Mules and added 13 kills and four aces. She put together a 14-kill/10-dig performance against Widener and wrapped up the weekend with a 20-kill/13-dig outing against Catholic. Ogden is currently third in the NJAC in kills (3.96/set) and second in points (4.60/set).

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK DELANEY ST. PIERRE • Montclair State University Senior • Setter • Colorado Springs, CO/Coronado

St. Pierre, the reigning NJAC Player of the Year, collects her first NJAC Defensive Player of the Week honor after a solid all-around performance that lifted MSU to a tri-match sweep. Defensively, the setter shined with nearly four digs a set across two straight-set match victories. She also tallied 56 assists, 11 kills, three blocks, and two service aces while hitting .333 on the weekend. St. Pierre recorded her fourth double-digit dig performance with 14 against Baruch, and added 30 assists, seven kills, and two aces. Earlier in the day, she scooped nine while registering 26 assists, four kills, and two blocks.

ROOKIE OF THE WEEK ERICA BICKART • William Paterson University Freshman • Middle Hitter/Right Side • Tucson, AZ/Marana

Bickart collects her first career NJAC Rookie of the Week honor after leading William Paterson in a 2-1 week. She paced the Pioneers with a team-best 20 kills (2.22/set) and eight total blocks in nine sets to go along with four aces and digs. Against Centenary on Saturday, she recorded a career-high and match-high 10 kills on 13 attacks for a .692 attack percentage. She also logged three aces and a block assist in the victory against the Cyclones. She followed that performance with a team-high seven-kill outing in a win opposite Sarah Lawrence. Bickart added five total blocks, three digs and an ace to her stat line versus the Gryphons.

Oktoberfest 2022: Stein holding contests, lederhosen & lots of beer

Willkommen to a beer-y good time of year: Oktoberfest.You don’t have to travel more than 5,000 miles to enjoy the beer and bratwurst-laden festivities this year. As a matter of fact, many breweries around town are bringing the Bavarian culture to Tucson along with flowing pints of beer and fun.It’s definitely not the wurst way to spend a Saturday unless you’re planning on downing some brats. This round-up will have you enjoying the beer necessities in no time.We’ll updat...

Willkommen to a beer-y good time of year: Oktoberfest.

You don’t have to travel more than 5,000 miles to enjoy the beer and bratwurst-laden festivities this year. As a matter of fact, many breweries around town are bringing the Bavarian culture to Tucson along with flowing pints of beer and fun.

It’s definitely not the wurst way to spend a Saturday unless you’re planning on downing some brats. This round-up will have you enjoying the beer necessities in no time.

We’ll update this list as events continue to pop up make sure to pay attention to the dates (some of these are happening sooner than others). Also, don’t forget to check our Events Directory for more events.

Casa Marana

8225 N. Courtney Page Way #191
Saturday, September 17

Image provided by Casa Marana

Join Casa Marana for the first official day of Oktoberfest on Saturday, September,17. The Haus of Brats food truck will be onsite slinging authentic German food. Plus, shop at their Oktoberfest Market, and show off your skills during their annual stein-holding contest.

Schedule:

Catalina Brewing Company

6918 N. Camino Martin
Saturday, September 17

The Marana Brewery Club is celebrating its five-year anniversary this month — five years of supporting local businesses while bringing people together over drinks, live music, and charity events. On Saturday, September 17, join them at Catalina Brewing for a day full of food, fun, games, prizes, music, and most importantly, the release of the Marana Brewery Club Five-Year Anniversary Oktoberfest beer.

Charly’s BBQ and Grill will be onsite serving up tasty food. There will be $1 Jell-O shots, $2 Watermelon Kamikazes, and a beer tub.

Oktoberfest Line Up:

Raffles include prizes from Barn Fire, The Station Pub and Grill, Nana’s Authentic Mexican Kitchen, Catalina Brewing Company, and Arizona Beer House.

Oktoberfest Fourth Avenue Pub Crawl

Multiple Locations
Saturday, September 17

Maybe skip the dirndl and lederhosen since it’s technically supposed to be 101 degrees this day (thank you Weather.com), but make your way down to Fourth Ave for this pub crawl featuring Dragoon Brewing Company’s Goonfest (Marzen).

MOTOSONORA BREWING COMPANY

1015 S. Park Ave.
Saturday, September 24

This year, the Moto Beer Garden at MotoSonora will be lively with Oktoberfest festivities. Tickets are $35 and get you a half liter of great German beer in a glass boot, a bratwurst, music, fun, and games.

Gertie and the T.O. Boyz will bring Tohono O’Odham Waila music (aka Chickenscratch) and its Native American, European-folk, and polka-influenced traditions to this Oktoberfest making it a truly Sonoran-style beer party. Schedule:

Tickets are available on Eventbrite. Purchase yours now because they tend to sell out rather quickly.

1912 Brewing Company

2045 N. Forbes Blvd. #105
Saturday, September 24

1912 Brewing Company will be releasing a crowd favorite of the Oktoberfest brews, the Metiche Märzen. It’s a perfect pairing with 1912 Brewing’s XL Bavarian Pretzel with Beer Cheese. Also, Daniela’s Cooking Food Truck will be joining with some German specials.

Don’t miss out on the stein holding contest at 5 p.m. for your chance to win a 1912 gift card!

Arizona Beer House

150 S. Kolb Rd.
Saturday, September 24

Arizona Beer House will have a limited number of ceramic Oktoberfest mugs available to purchase at the door, plus food from Haus of Brats, West Coast Trolley, and Cookie Addicts.

Union Public House

4340 N. Campbell Ave.
Saturday, September 24

Oktoberfest at Union Public House is presented by Samuel Adams’ Oktoberfest beer and a bunch of radio stations, including KiiM-FM, K-HIT, The Vibe, Wildcats Radio 1290, and 1400 KTUC. There will be specials on Oktoberfest beers, $6 brats, contests with great prizes, and more.

Schedule:

Sign up for the contests at uniontucson.com.

Dillinger Brewing Company

3895 N. Oracle Rd. • 402 E. Ninth St.
Friday, September 30 – Sunday, October 2

Dillinger’s fifth annual Oktoberfest is back and will take place at both taproom locations! This will be a weekend-long event.

They’ll have all the goods including:

Keep up with the latest by following their Facebook event page for upcoming details.

The Hut Tucson

305 N. Fourth Ave.
Saturday, October 1

The Active 20-30 Club of Tucson welcomes you to Oktoberfest — a little slice of Germany right here in the Old Pueblo. This year, they’re partnering with More Than a Bed for the event as the selected beneficiary. All proceeds from this event will go towards supporting children in foster, kinship, and adoptive families, so you can feel good while having a great time.

Tickets Include:

Purchase your tickets at oktoberfestaz.com.

Button Brew House

6800 N. Camino Martin #160
Saturday, October 8

End Oktoberfest on a high note with Button Brewhouse. Haus of Brats will be serving up their authentic German food, there will be music all day long, and several other Arizona breweries will be pouring your favorite beers.

Participating Breweries:

Plus, more to be announced in the coming weeks. Your ticket comes with a half-liter glass stein and three half-liter beer fills.

Music schedule:

Prizes schedule:

Cost: $39 for early birds.

For more information and to get your tickets, visit eventbrite.com.

Sabino’s Cameron Hackworth earned an Ed Doherty Nomination Medallion

The Grand Canyon State Gridiron Club (GCSGC) announced the recipients of the Week 4 Ed Doherty Award Nomination Medallions on Tuesday. Five players were recognized for outstanding play during their respective games on Friday, Sept. 9, 2022: Matt Brimhall (Sr. DB, Snowflake); Navi Bruzon (Jr. QB, Liberty); Cameron Hackworth (Jr. QB/DB, Sabino); Dylan Lee (Jr. RB, Williams Field) and Mack Molander (Sr. QB, Eastmark).Cameron Hackworth –...

The Grand Canyon State Gridiron Club (GCSGC) announced the recipients of the Week 4 Ed Doherty Award Nomination Medallions on Tuesday. Five players were recognized for outstanding play during their respective games on Friday, Sept. 9, 2022: Matt Brimhall (Sr. DB, Snowflake); Navi Bruzon (Jr. QB, Liberty); Cameron Hackworth (Jr. QB/DB, Sabino); Dylan Lee (Jr. RB, Williams Field) and Mack Molander (Sr. QB, Eastmark).

Cameron Hackworth – Jr. QB/DB – SabinoIn a 41-20 win over Saguaro, Hackworth was 21 of 28 for 319 yards passing and 4 TDs, while adding another 80 yards and 2 TDs on the ground. He also made a key interception on defense.

.@SabinoFootball1 QB @CameronHackwor1 the @AllSportsTucson @APSMailroom @FrognFirkinAZ Player of the Week. Also recognized this week by @KVOASports, @gcs_gridiron & @theARIZONABOWL. Gridiron Club’s Ed Doherty Award medallion puts him in contention for state player of the year. pic.twitter.com/WknCEFt6ug

Presentation of Week 3 @APSMailroom @FrognFirkinAZ Player of the Week recipient @SabinoFootball1 QB @CameronHackwor1. Hackworth also recipient today of Ed Doherty Medallion, making him candidate for state player of the year. pic.twitter.com/wStXoZk2Li

— Javier Morales (@JavierJMorales) September 14, 2022

.@SabinoFootball1 QB @CameronHackwor1, the Sabercats and coach @Coach_McBrayer and his staff with the @APSMailroom @FrognFirkinAZ Week 3 Player of the Week banner and game ball. pic.twitter.com/56nH9IwYfg

— Javier Morales (@JavierJMorales) September 14, 2022

Hackworth, Elijah Joplin (Marana), Bubba Mustain (Pusch Ridge) and Cristian Pando (Willcox) made the Gridiron Watch List.

NOTE: Andy and Javier Morales are the Southern Arizona GCSGC voting members.

Named one of “Arizona’s Heart & Sol” by KOLD and Casino del Sol, Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014, he was awarded the Ray McNally Award in 2017 and a 2019 AZ Education News recognition. He was a youth, high school and college coach for over 30 years. He was the first in Arizona to write about high school beach volleyball and high school girls wrestling and his unique perspective can only be found here and on AZPreps365.com. Andy is a Southern Arizona voting member of the Ed Doherty Award, recognizing the top football player in Arizona, and he was named a Local Hero by the Tucson Weekly for 2016. Andy was named an Honorary Flowing Wells Caballero in 2019, became a member of the Sunnyside Los Mezquites Cross Country Hall of Fame in 2021 and he was a member of the Amphi COVID-19 Blue Ribbon Committee. He earned a Distinguished Service Award from Amphitheater and he was recognized by the Sunnyside School District and by Tucson City Councilman Richard Fimbres. Contact Andy Morales at amoralesmytucson@yahoo.com

'Strong-Arm' the giant saguaro falls in Tortolita Preserve after over 150 years of life

“Strong-Arm,” a saguaro that stood in the Tortolita Preserve in Marana near Tucson, fell on Aug. 4 after living for around 150 to 200 years, the town said on its website.The 40-foot-tall saguaro, marked with its own metal sign proclaiming its name, had 34 arms in all and was home to many birds, including a Great Horned Owl and some woodpeckers.In the memorial post on Marana’s government website, Jason Grodman, Natural Resources Supervisor with ...

“Strong-Arm,” a saguaro that stood in the Tortolita Preserve in Marana near Tucson, fell on Aug. 4 after living for around 150 to 200 years, the town said on its website.

The 40-foot-tall saguaro, marked with its own metal sign proclaiming its name, had 34 arms in all and was home to many birds, including a Great Horned Owl and some woodpeckers.

In the memorial post on Marana’s government website, Jason Grodman, Natural Resources Supervisor with the Marana Parks and Recreation Department, called it a “saguaro motel” to its many animal residents.

“It saw all of the development grow up around us, and it’s really a sentinel for the preserve,” Grodman said in a tribute video for the saguaro.

Marana's recreation superintendent Bob Stinson said his predecessor had given the saguaro its name since it was one of the largest cacti in the area and the trail went right by it.

"It was just a beautiful specimen," Stinson said. He said, gauging from the many people he had spoken to about it, Strong-Arm would be missed in the community.

Grodman said in the video that the trunk of the saguaro, which remains upright, will likely stand for the next few years, while the arms will likely decompose of the course of about five years.

Strong-Arm fell in a 9.2-mile loop trail in the preserve. In the tribute video, Grodman said they are creating a workaround for the trail that will prevent them from having to move the cactus’ remains, as it will “breathe new life” into the desert as it decays, the town of Marana government wrote on its website.

“This is actually a great opportunity to educate the public about the importance of biodiversity and these wonderful and these wonderful saguaros and how they play a part in our whole big world,” Grodman said in the video.

Support local journalism. Subscribe to azcentral.com today.

Marana native Jordan Morgan gives back to his community and gives de Laura time to throw

Copy This Embed Code: Ad TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — For Arizona's new offensive weapons to excel, they will need strong performance from the offensive line. That includes Marana native and left tackle, Jordan Morgan."Jordan Morgan is a very, very special player," said head coach Jedd Fisch.A special player, playing a special position. The left tackle protects the quarterback's blind side. However, Morgan began is football career at Marana High School with other ideas."I wanted to be a quart...

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TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — For Arizona's new offensive weapons to excel, they will need strong performance from the offensive line. That includes Marana native and left tackle, Jordan Morgan.

"Jordan Morgan is a very, very special player," said head coach Jedd Fisch.

A special player, playing a special position. The left tackle protects the quarterback's blind side. However, Morgan began is football career at Marana High School with other ideas.

"I wanted to be a quarterback just like everyone else," admitted Morgan.

That idea didn't last long.

"I got hurt off of that," said Morgan. "I didn't really like it so I switched to tight end. Then, after tight end, I went to tackle. Right tackle and then left tackle."

Morgan had a growth spurt. His size and strength made him a natural for the offensive line. However, it's a position that takes time to master. Morgan was part of an offensive line that led the Pac-12 in sacks allowed.

"I had to work extra hours, get in early, and watch film," said Morgan. "I had to lock in to want to be the best player I can be. I took that personally."

His improvement can already be seen at this year's training camp. And, he's earned the respect of Jayden de Laura, the quarterback whose blind side he'll be protecting.

"His leadership and his seniority," said de Laura. "I feel like that aspect of his game can help us out big time."

The Marana native doesn't just give de Laura time to throw. He gives back to his community.

Morgan spends time volunteering at football camps and local Boys and Girls clubs. For his efforts, he's been named to the Wuerffel Trophy Watch List, which honors college football athletes who combine admirable community service with leadership achievement both on and off the field.

"Going to places like the Boys and Girls Club, it's fun seeing those kids have fun," said Morgan. "I see them look up to me. That's how I was when I was younger."

"He's been a fantastic role model," said Arizona offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch. "He's been a beacon in the weight room. The guys follow him. They want to get behind him. He's been a great leader for our guys, and our guys want to go to war with him."

Morgan, listed at 6'5'' and 328 pounds, is considered a legitimate NFL draft prospect, though he'll still have another year of eligibility.

"I'm just focused on putting in the work," said Morgan.

——-Breanna Isbell is a reporter for KGUN 9. She joined the KGUN 9 team in July of 2022 after receiving her bachelor’s degree in sports journalism from Arizona State University in May. Share your story ideas with Breanna by emailing breanna.isbell@kgun9.com or by connecting on Facebook, or Twitter.

Facts and Factors: Arizona vs. Mississippi State

247Sports Embed ResourceDot LoaderThe Arizona Wildcats welcome Mississippi State to Arizona Stadium for their 2022 home opener on Saturday night. Arizona is 91-21-5 all-time in home openers, but has lost each of its last two. The Wildcats last home-opening win came against Northern Arizona on Sept. 7, 2019, a 65-41 victory. This is the first all-time meeting between Arizona and Mississippi State. The Wildcats are 1-5-1 all time against SEC opponents.The following takes a look at other facts and factors that could come in...

247Sports Embed Resource

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The Arizona Wildcats welcome Mississippi State to Arizona Stadium for their 2022 home opener on Saturday night. Arizona is 91-21-5 all-time in home openers, but has lost each of its last two. The Wildcats last home-opening win came against Northern Arizona on Sept. 7, 2019, a 65-41 victory. This is the first all-time meeting between Arizona and Mississippi State. The Wildcats are 1-5-1 all time against SEC opponents.

The following takes a look at other facts and factors that could come into play for Saturday's home opener.

Arizona's 38 points in last weekend's win over SDSU was the team's highest single-game scoring output since 2019. The Wildcats scored 20+ points only twice during the 2021 season and surpassed the mark in the first half at SDSU.

Sophomore quarterback Jayden de Laura had a breakout first game with Arizona, throwing for 299 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Wildcats to a 38-20 win on the road. He improved to 6-0 in his collegiate career when throwing three-plus touchdowns. De Laura’s four touchdown passes were the most by an Arizona QB in their Wildcat debut since Anu Solomon threw four against UNLV in 2014. He completed 29-of-35 passes and connected with Jacob Cowing three times for touchdowns, as well as Tetairoa McMillan once for a TD.

Mississippi State quarterback Will Rogers broke 25 records during his sophomore season, one year after rewriting nearly every passing mark in MSU history as a freshman in 2020. Last season, Rogers broke Dak Prescott's records for single-season total offense, passing yards and passing touchdowns that Prescott set as a fourth-year junior and fifth-year senior. In 2021, Rogers led the SEC in passing yards per game (364.5) and finished third in the FBS in total passing yards (4,739). His 4,739 passing yards were the third most in SEC single-season history, while he ranked second in the SEC and seventh in the nation in passing touchdowns (36).

Rogers stands as MSU’s career leader and the FBS active career leader in completion percentage: 72.5 percent (782-of-1,078). He now boasts 14 career 300-yard passing games, which is an MSU career record and 18 career 30-completion games, also an MSU record. Through just 23 games and 20 starts, Rogers has moved to the top of State’s career leaderboard in total offense. His 304.8 yards per game (7,011 total yards) currently leads all Bulldogs.

Wide receiver Jacob Cowing made an immediate impact for the Wildcats in their week one victory over San Diego State, hauling in eight catches for 152 yards and three touchdowns. With last weekend's performance and dating back through his time at UTEP, Cowing has now recorded at least one reception in 33 consecutive games, tied for the second-longest active streak among all FBS players. During that 33-game stretch, which includes every college game he has logged time in, Cowing has posted multiple catches 28 times and 5+ receptions 18 times.

Wide receiver Austin Williams has the third-lowest drop rate of any active SEC wide receiver since 2019 (0.9 percent). His 92.3 hands grade from PFF ranked second in the FBS in 2021 and was the highest among players returning for 2022.

Williams is in his final campaign following a career year in 2021 that saw him set new personal season highs with 52 catches for 617 yards and four touchdowns. He caught 52 of his 59 targets (88.1 percent), which ranked fifth in the nation among players with at least 40 targets. Of his 117 career receptions, 63.2 percent have led to a touchdown or first down. He is now tied for 10th in MSU career history with 12 receiving touchdowns.

Arizona hired Johnny Nansen to be the Defensive Coordinator following the departure of Don Brown after last season. Nansen spent the previous two seasons coaching the defensive line for UCLA and has coached in the Pac-12 since 2009.

Arizona’s defense held San Diego State to just 62 yards through the air, the fewest passing yards allowed since holding The Citadel to 21 yards through the air in week two of 2010. The Aztecs combined to go just 7-for-16 through the air with one interception. The Wildcats' defense forced a three-and-out on San Diego State’s opening possession of the game, a feat accomplished just three times in 2021.

Linebacker Jerry Roberts made a career-high 12 tackles to lead the Arizona defensive attack. Roberts bested his previous high of 10 against Utah in 2021. Junior safety Jaxen Turner picked up the Wildcats first interception of the year after Arizona logged just four during the 2021 season.

Mississippi State was third in the SEC and 12th in the nation in rushing defense (113.4) in 2021. Defensively, MSU allowed just 48 runs to go for more than 10 yards, which was tied for second in the SEC. The Bulldogs allowed 84 rushing first downs, which was tied for 15th in the FBS.

Since 2020, MSU has allowed fewer than 150 rushing yards in 16 games, which trails only Alabama (27) and Georgia (25) in the SEC during that span. MSU is holding its opponents to just 119.7 rushing yards per game, which ranks third in the SEC during that span.

Since the start of the 2018 season, MSU has held 44 of its 51 opponents below the 200-yard rushing mark, which is the third-most in the SEC and tied for 11th in the nation during that stretch. Under defensive coordinator Zach Arnett, MSU has held the opponent below the 200-yard rushing mark in 21 of 25 games. In 2021, MSU held six opponents to fewer than 100 yards on the ground. MSU held opponents to 113.4 rushing yards per game, which was third in the SEC. Just 48 of opponents’ 406 rushing attempts went for 10 or more yards in 2021.

Offensive lineman Jordan Morgan appeared in all 74 offensive snaps and did not allow a sack or a hurry during the 20th game of his collegiate career last weekend at SDSU. Morgan was named to the preseason watch list for the Wuerffel Trophy, which is presented to the FBS player who best combines exemplary community service with leadership achievements on and off the field. Morgan was one of 115 players to make the initial list.

A native of Marana just north of Tucson, Morgan has established himself as a consistent force on the Wildcats offensive line. After appearing in eight games over his first two seasons in Tucson he took over the regular starting left tackle during the 2021 season, starting in each of Arizona's final 11 games of the year.

Mississippi State returns 79.1 percent of its defensive snaps from 2021. The Bulldogs played 807 snaps with 11 players on the field for a total of 8,877 snaps. Bulldog returners combined for 7,020 snaps last year.

Of the 22 players on defensive side of the two-deep, 17 have been playing for the past two years under defensive coordinator Zach Arnett. Three more have at least played a season in Arnett's system. Only one starter on the depth chart was not on the roster last year, and nine of the 11 starters have been in the system since 2020.

Mississippi State returns its 2021 leaders in tackles (LB Jett Johnson), tackles for loss and sacks (LB Tyrus Wheat), quarterback hurries (DT Jaden Crumedy and DT Randy Charlton) and interceptions and pass breakups (CB Emmanuel Forbes).

Senior running back DJ Williams gained a team-leading 88 yards and rushed for one touchdown during his Arizona debut against San Diego State. He averaged 6.29 yards per rush and recorded a long rush of 17 yards. It marked the third most rushing yards in a single game for his career, and most since 2019 with Auburn.

Williams joins the Wildcats after three seasons with Florida State (2021) and Auburn (2019-20). The running back room combined to gain 162 yards with freshman Jonah Coleman adding 42 yards on 13 attempts, junior Michael Wiley rushing six times for 34 yards, and freshman Rayshon ‘Speedy’ Luke adding 12 yards on four carries.

Last fall, MSU was the only school in the country that faced six teams ranked in the final College Football Playoff Top 25 and was one of four teams with three wins against teams ranked in the final poll.

COMMENTS

Mike Leach became the first MSU head coach, at least in the modern era, to beat three teams in one season who finished ranked in a final poll. Over the last five seasons, Leach's teams have defeated nine opponents ranked inside the AP Top 25. Only two current SEC head coaches have more such wins in that span.

Leach is tied for seventh in the nation since 2020 in wins over AP Top 15 opponents (3). Under Leach, State has already defeated four AP-ranked opponents in road or neutral site contests with wins at then-No. 6 LSU (2020), vs. then-No. 22 Tulsa (2020), at then-No. 15 Texas A&M (2021) and at No. 16 Auburn (2021).

Leach’s five total ranked wins are the most of any Bulldog head coach in his first two years, and his four away from Starkville are tied for the most by an MSU head coach in program history. Leach is tied for seventh in the nation since 2020 in wins over AP Top 15 opponents (3).

Foodie Events from September 15 – 21: Oktoberfest, roasted chiles & meatballs

This week, Oktoberfest is starting, Sonoran Restaurant Week is ending, and there’s plenty to eat, see, and drink in between.Some exciting highlights include the following:There’s a new beer that Borderlands is releasing, a collaboration between Las Hermanas, with support from Visit Tucson, the Consulate of Mexico in Tucson, Ya...

This week, Oktoberfest is starting, Sonoran Restaurant Week is ending, and there’s plenty to eat, see, and drink in between.

Some exciting highlights include the following:

There’s a new beer that Borderlands is releasing, a collaboration between Las Hermanas, with support from Visit Tucson, the Consulate of Mexico in Tucson, Yakima Chief Hops, and Country Malt Group. There will be a Whiskey Del Bac pairing dinner as well as a Deep Sky Vineyards pairing dinner. The Downtown Clifton Hotel is kicking off Mexican Independence Day with a pop-up market and $8 margaritas, Palomas, and more.

Don’t forget, you can check out our Events Directory for a full list of Foodie events happening this week and other upcoming things to do.

Sonoran Restaurant Week

Now – Sunday, September 18

Hopefully, you’ve been following along with Tucson Foodie as we’ve worked to bring you all things Sonoran Restaurant Week. We’re in the home stretch of this gastronomic endeavor. Make your reservations and join us in closing out this year’s Sonoran Restaurant Week in true Tucson Foodie style.

Oktoberfest

All weekend

Beer is in the forecast for this weekend. Casa Marana, Omni Tucson National Resort, Catalina Brewing Company, and Dragoon Brewing Company are kicking off Oktoberfest celebrations this weekend, starting on Saturday, September 17.

Casa Marana will be featuring an Oktoberfest Market and stein-holding contest. The Omni will have live music, traditional German fare, plenty of beer, and so much more. Catalina Brewing will hold various raffles benefitting charities. Dragoon Brewing will be taking over Fourth Avenue with their pub crawl on Saturday evening.

Check out our recent article “Oktoberfest 2022: Stein holding contests, lederhosen & lots of beer for a growing list of all Oktoberfest events this month.

20TH ANNUAL ROASTED CHILE FESTIVAL

All weekend

Locals don’t have to cross state lines to satiate their Hatch chile cravings this chile season! Heirloom Farmers Markets’ 20th Annual Roasted Chile Festival is the perfect opportunity to celebrate, eat, and take home some of the best chiles in the country. With live music, local vendors, and the smell of freshly roasted chiles in the air, everyone can partake in chile season this year.

The celebration will take place Friday – Sunday at the Udall Park Farmers Market, Rincon Valley Farmers and Artisans Market, and Oro Valley Farmers Market. You can catch this event regardless of what side of town you’re on!

EL CHARRO 100TH ANNIVERSARY

Friday, September 16 starting at 11 a.m.
All El Charro locations

Party like it’s 1922! El Charro is celebrating its centennial at all El Charro Café locations from 11 a.m. until closing with food and drink specials.

Friday, September 16 from 4 – 7 p.m.
4155 E. Grant Rd.

If you’re a cat purr-son, you’re not going to want to miss this.

The Hermitage Cat Shelter is celebrating 57 years of serving Tucson as the community’s first no-kill animal shelter and no-cage sanctuary. The Shelter Cocktail Lounge is helping with the festivities; they’ll be hosting a $10 dinner buffet in addition to donating 25% of their bar sales to help support the wonderful work the Hermitage Cat Shelter is doing.

Friday, September 16 from 5 – 8 p.m.
119 E. Toole Ave.

Join Borderlands Brewing Company on Mexico’s Independence Day for a release party for the new West Coast IPA brewed by Las Hermanas, women brewers from Mexico! It’ll be a party like no other with live mariachi music

Check out our recent article, Las Hermanas’ Project: The love for great beer has no borders.

A PAIRING DINNER WITH WHISKEY DEL BAC

Saturday, September 17 at 5 p.m.
100 S. Avenida del Convento #150

Join Whiskey Del Bac co-founders Stephen and Amanda Paul at Agustin Kitchen for an exquisite pairing dinner. Enjoy dinner pairings such as braised oxtail with the Whiskey Del Bac Dorado, Presta coffee rubbed lamb lollipops paired with the Whiskey Del Bac Normandie, and more.

Cost: $120 per person, plus tax and gratuity. Call (520) 398-5382 to reserve your spot.

WINE DINNER FEATURING DEEP SKY VINEYARDS

Sunday, September 18 from 5:30 – 8 p.m.
550 W. Orange Grove Rd.

Arizona Winery Tours proudly presents a “Food & Wine Pairing Dinner” featuring chef Adam of The Cafe in Sonoita and Deep Sky Vineyard. You can expect a delightful evening of good food with exquisite wine pairings with each course.

Cost: $139. Book your seat now.

FOR THE LOVE OF MEATBALLS: ITALIAN & GREEK STYLE

Tuesday, September 20 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
2700 E. Speedway Blvd.

Join KVOI’s Chris DeSimone, who before becoming a broadcaster was a professional chef, and make Italian meatballs using beef, pork, caramelized onions, and spices. Also, you’ll prepare the marinara sauce for your sub sandwich topped with mozzarella cheese. Chicken, turkey, garlic, and feta cheese flavor the Greek version, along with creating the perfect accompaniment, tzatziki sauce, to slather on crispy bread.

Cost: $75. Register today.

Also, if you’re looking for a weekend getaway near cooler temperatures, check out our article “Sippin’ your way around Sonoita-Elgin wine country.” We’ve basically got a window to Spain, Italy, and the south of France in our backyard without having to purchase a plane ticket; the perfect blend of good climate, striking views and sunsets, and plenty to do.

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