The Home Grown Talent Behind Arizona Christian’s Success

A desert diamond in the rough of the West Valley, Arizona Christian University is constantly one of the top teams in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics football ranks.

The NAIA spans across the nation filled with Division I bounce backs, young NFL hopefuls, and some of the top players from junior colleges after their JuCo eligibility expires. But ACU has maintained one specific detail about their athletics: they are an Arizona program. Some of their top players like Riley Tucker (Desert Mountain), Ben Strawn (Northwest Christian), Jonah Leon (Yuma Catholic), Eriyon Ward (Agua Fria), and Manny Higuera (Paradise Valley) all hail from the Arizona high school football levels.

Two of their primary offensive leaders grew up just down the road from their college football field; Senior quarterback and Greenway grad, Tyler Duncan, and his receiver, Cactus alum, Zaachary Cullop, both play within two miles of their former high schools.

ACU has played consistently competitive with their homegrown Arizona talent. With 98 football teams in the NAIA, the Firestorm have appeared in the top 25 rankings in all but two seasons since their football debut in 2014 including a national tournament appearance in the spring of 2021.