by Adam Gonzales
Tucson, Ariz. – Fall camp for the Arizona football team came to a conclusion yesterday, and the Wildcats will look to rely heavily on an experienced and talented receiving corps.
Some key returners include Austin Hill, Samajie Grant, Nate Phillips, David Richards and Trey Griffey. Transfers Cayleb Jones and DaVonte’ Neal are now eligible to play after having to sit out the 2013 season as well, and are both looking to make an immediate impact.
“I will do whatever the coaches tell me to do,” sophomore DaVonte’ Neal said. “I know that I have to go out there and do my job to the best of my abilities. For me, I like to talk to the guys and get them excited because everyone plays better when they get along.”
Austin Hill will more than likely be the main focus for opposing defenses, and rightfully so after being a semifinalist for the 2012 Biletnikoff Award.
“Austin is a really smart guy, and it is all very important to him,” head coach Rich Rodriguez said. “He wants to finish off his career right. He has great ball skills but butter than anything, he has a great feel for the game.”
Jones is another guy who is going to try to make an instant impact in 2014. The University of Texas transfer came into a great situation by being able to learn from guys like Hill, Phillips, Grant and Richards. Having those guys around has also motivated Jones because he knows that he has to play at a high level every day.
“It’s motivating to me to have a lot of good players out there,” Jones said. “I know I have to make plays every day if I want to get on the field. I’ve learned a lot from all of the guys too. Day after day you learn something different, and that’s encouraging to me.”
Senior Austin Hill is a player that has seemed to take Jones under his wing since he joined the program in 2013.
“Austin has done so much for me,” Jones said. “Seeing someone so patient and being humbled by everything he has been through has taught me a lot. He has helped me develop as a person. On the field, if I mess up at all, he’s right there telling me before Coach (Tony) Dews does. He also made me a lot more comfortable when I redshirted last year.”
Some of these receivers are so skilled that there is a possibility they could play on the defensive side of the ball at times. Rodriguez has been looking into some of them being a part of the SWAT defensive package that the Wildcats bring out on third-down situations.
“We’re going to look at some of the receivers playing defensive back on the SWAT team,” Rodriguez said. “DaVonte’ Neal, Samajie Grant and Cayleb Jones are going to get some looks there. We have to coach them up a bit but they will get some chances.”
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