Under the radar: Arizona

We conclude our under the radar series.

The idea is to pick out a player who is not a big name, but who might be underrated. Or, at least, a guy who will need to step up and play a crucial role in 2012.

We've gone in reverse alphabetical order.

Arizona: CB Jonathan McKnight

2011 production: McKnight missed the season with a knee injury.

Making the case for McKnight: Back during 2011 spring practice, former Arizona coach Mike Stoops told me that McKnight was the Wildcats' best cover guy. He was stoked about McKnight's upside. Stoops, now back as Oklahoma's defensive coordinator, knows defensive backs, too. He played the position at Iowa and in the NFL and he's always coached it. Tim Kish, then Arizona defensive coordinator, said the same about McKnight. And when McKnight blew out his knee during fall camp, I imagined Stoops doing one of the angry dances that TV cameramen so loved to capture during games. I don't really know how good McKnight is because he mostly saw spot action as a true freshman in 2010. But I'm going to trust Stoops and Kish. The 5-foot-11, 175 pounder out of River Ridge, La., and younger brother of former USC running back Joe McKnight, could become an emerging star this fall if he stays healthy and lives up to the words of his former coaches. He was 80 percent this spring but should be 100 percent this summer, with plenty of time to get his conditioning -- and confidence in his knee -- back to where it needs to be. If McKnight is healthy, don't be surprised if, at season's end, he ends up on the All-Pac-12 team.