Dennis Northcutt returned home to play in Southern California a final time Saturday night at the height of his Arizona career, having climbed to second in the nation in all-purpose yardage and been praised by Coach Dick Tomey in ways that go beyond the numbers.
“There’s not anybody that’s helping their team at this point any more than Dennis Northcutt is helping us,” Tomey said.
Other schools may offer their own nominations, but there is no arguing the impact of the senior from Dorsey High who arrived at the Rose Bowl as one of the biggest worries for UCLA.
He began the weekend No. 2 in the country in punt returns and No. 4 in receiving yardage, after having already set the Pacific 10 record with catches in 38 consecutive games. That is in addition to occasional duty in the secondary, helping Northcutt become the only player in Arizona history to score a touchdown four ways: reception, run, punt return and interception return.
How impressive has he been?
Northcutt, who had seven catches for 121 yards in the 33-7 victory over UCLA on Saturday, was third in the conference in all-purpose yards as a junior and has still surpassed expectations.
“I don’t think it would be fair to imagine that anybody would have the kind of year that he’s having,” Tomey said. “When you look at the amount of yards that he’s generating when he touches the ball--whether it be on a reverse or a pass or a punt return--he’s just done a phenomenal job. He has been probably the brightest light for us during the course of the season.”
The 12 new members of the UCLA Hall of Fame were inducted in ceremonies before the game and introduced at halftime: Troy Aikman (football), Sam Boghosian (pioneer), Kay Cockerill (golf), Tracy Compton (softball), Denise Corlett (basketball, volleyball and badminton), Dave Dalby (football), Gail Devers (track), Bob Horn (water polo), Ernie Johnson (pioneer), Torey Lovullo (baseball), Sharon Shapiro (gymnastics) and Kevin Young (track). Aikman was represented by his mother.