Arizona Washington St Football

Washington State quarterback Jayden de Laura drops to pass against Arizona during the first half on Friday, Nov. 19, 2021, in Pullman, Washington.

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A big-time talent is joining the Arizona Wildcats’ quarterback room.

Jayden de Laura, who threw 23 touchdown passes for Washington State this past season, is transferring to Arizona.

De Laura, who threw for 2,796 yards in 12 games, announced the move via Twitter on Monday. He immediately becomes the favorite to start for the Wildcats, who have moved aggressively to rebuild their roster this offseason.

De Laura (6-0, 190) joined Washington State in 2020 as a three-star prospect out of St. Louis High School in Honolulu. He also had offers from Ohio State, USC and BYU.

De Laura was named the Pac-12 Offensive Freshman of the Year in 2021 after leading the conference in passing yards and touchdowns during the regular season.

De Laura completed 27 of 32 passes for 245 yards in WSU’s victory over Washington in the Apple Cup. He struggled in the Sun Bowl, going 9 of 19 for only 45 yards before sitting out the second half because of injury.

The year did not start off well for de Laura. He was suspended from the team after being arrested on suspicion of DUI last February. In summer, de Laura announced that he was found not guilty and posted a lengthy statement expressing regret for his actions and gratitude for the support he subsequently received.

Reinstated after spring practice, de Laura began the season behind grad transfer Jarrett Guarantano. But Guarantano got hurt in WSU’s opener against Utah State, and de Laura took over from there.

De Laura appeared in 16 games in all for the Cougars, completing 307 of 490 passes (62.7%) for 3,682 yards with 28 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He completed 13 of 22 throws for 259 yards and a career-high four touchdowns in a 44-18 victory over Arizona on Nov. 19.

Earlier Monday, Incarnate Word quarterback Cameron Ward announced he was transferring to Washington State. The Cougars’ interest in Ward prompted de Laura to enter the transfer portal.

De Laura joins a QB room that’s overflowing – for now. Arizona returns three scholarship quarterbacks in Gunner Cruz (who also transferred from Washington State), Jordan McCloud and Will Plummer. The Wildcats also are set to add freshman Noah Fifita, who’s part of a top-20 high school class. It’s more likely than not that at least one of the veteran quarterbacks will transfer.

Cruz opened last season as the starter, threw for 336 yards in the opener vs. BYU but faltered thereafter. He lost the job to Plummer, who then ceded it to McCloud, a transfer from South Florida.

McCloud looked like the best option, playing particularly well in his second start vs. UCLA on Oct. 9. But McCloud suffered season-ending knee and ankle injuries in the fourth quarter of that game.

Jedd Fisch then turned back to Cruz, who suffered a season-ending thumb injury the following week at Colorado. Plummer started the final six games.

Arizona’s quarterbacks combined for 12 touchdowns and 18 interceptions, the most in the Pac-12. The Wildcats’ 112.6 efficiency rating was the worst in the league.

Contact sports reporter Michael Lev at 573-4148 or mlev@tucson.com. On Twitter @michaeljlev 

This article originally ran on tucson.com.

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