What Will Arizona Wildcats Do Without Tyler Slavin in 2013?
The Arizona Wildcats are finding themselves in a desperate search for help at the wide receiver position heading into 2013. Their senior leader in 2012, Dan Buckner, finished second on the team in receiving last season before departing and leading receiver. Breakout playmaker of 2012 Austin Hill was lost for the year when he tore his ACL this offseason. And now things are even worse, so how will Rich Rodriguez overcome those losses without the benefit of Tyler Slavin next season?
Slavin finished his sophomore season with Arizona catching 21 passes for 210 yards with a touchdown and figured to be a much bigger piece of the offense next season, given all the production lost this offseason. Instead, Slavin has decided to leave the program putting Rodriguez in a bind as he looks for experience pass catchers to carry the load next season.
At the outside receiver position, the Wildcats are down to David Richards and not much else. Richards finished 2012 with 29 catches for 298 yards and three touchdowns, but will have to carry a much larger load of the offense next fall. The Wildcats will look for redshirt freshmen Trey Griffey and Clive Georges to step in and make an immediate impact.
Arizona will have a bit more flexibility with their inside receivers as they welcome back Johnny Jackson, Garic Wharton and Terrence Miller back for 2013. Jackson caught 25 passes for 187 yards and a touchdown last season, Wharton chipped in 19 receptions for 264 yards and two touchdowns and Miller will look for a bounce back season after playing in just four games in 2012 due to injuries. At 6-foot-4, he offers a big target as a slot/H-back/tight end player and that versatility will be put to good use next season.
Senior Richard Morrison caught 23 passes for 171 yards and two touchdowns last season, but has spent all spring working out at cornerback. He might be asked to come back to the offensive side of the ball if other options don’t pan out, though it would take away from the depth of a secondary that needs a lot of help. Rodriguez could lean on some incoming recruits as well to contribute right away, including four-star wide receiver Samajie Grant.
Add in the fact that Arizona will be breaking in a new quarterback, and you get a recipe for uncertainty in that passing game for 2013. Who will step up and take the pressure off the receiving corps next fall?
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