Rich Rodriguez has made some great strides with the Arizona Wildcats in his two seasons as the head coach. In 2014, he is looking to take that next step and make the Cats a real contender for the Pac-12 South Division title. If Arizona can find a way to come out on top next season, it will be behind the strength of their receiving corps which should be the best in the conference by far.
Arizona will return six of their top seven receivers from 2013 when they relied on a serious youth movement to carry the passing attack. Nate Phillips led the way as a freshman last year, recording 51 receptions for 696 yards and seven touchdowns. Add in fellow 2013 freshmen like Samajie Grant (47 receptions, 373 yards, 1 touchdown) and Trey Griffey (14, 170, 2), and the young receivers from 2013 will be seasoned veterans this fall.
And Arizona will also welcome in some major transfer talent to the receiver group in 2014. Cayleb Jones played his freshman season with the Texas Longhorns before coming to Arizona and made a major impression during spring practice. The former five-star recruit has spent his year off learning the Rodriguez playbook and will be in the mix for playing time next fall. Davonte Neal, a transfer from the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, will add yet another athletic playmaker to the mix.
That doesn’t even take into account the return of Austin Hill to the offense this fall. Hill was a Biletnikoff Award candidate before tearing his ACL and missing the entire 2013 season. Back in 2012, Hill broke out under Rodriguez catching 81 passes for 1,364 yards and 11 touchdowns. With a clean bill of health, Hill figures to return to the top of the Arizona receiving corps in 2013 with nothing but weapons around him to flourish.
While the Arizona offense has been run-heavy over the last two years, 2014 could be the year that the Wildcats take to the air. The team is stacked with talent at the receiver position and simply needs a quarterback to step into the system and take advantage. Can the wealth of talent on the edge take Arizona over the top this season?