Over the past several years, Arizona's offensive scheme has featured the receiver position more than any other. When Sonny Dykes arrived in 2007, UA decided to switch to a spread offense and proceeded to become one of the nation's most prolific passing attacks in the following years.
In 2012, that may change a bit. While new head coach Rich Rodriguez runs his own version of the spread, it's an installment that focuses on the running game more than the previous system did. That doesn't mean the scheme completely excludes the receiver position, but it won't highlight the position as much as the previous philosophy did.
Dan Buckner is perhaps the most seasoned returning receiver on the roster. At 6-foot-6, Buckner provides the offense with a huge target that can go up and out-reach defenders for the ball. As a senior, Buckner has one last chance to prove himself at the college level, but in an offense that caters to speed more than size when it comes to receivers, Buckner may have to work even harder to have a big year.
Speedy Garic Wharton could excel in the system. Wharton can burn his defender in one-on-one coverage and can make plays with his feet. With his motor, Wharton could be used in the deep game as well as the running game. He could be used in motion, inside or out, and has the potential to be a consistent playmaker. With the change in scheme, Wharton could benefit greatly.
Tyler Slavin was solid in spring practice, displaying excellent hands. Slavin has added noticeable muscle and has been able to use it to his advantage in the early practice sessions. Slavin hasn't made much of an impact in real game situations at the college level yet, but it's apparent that he is working hard in order to receive playing time.
Austin Hill is a player who came on strong in spurts last season. After redshirting in 2010, Hill caught 21 passes for 311 yards and two touchdowns in 2011. Hill sat out the spring due to injury, but has the potential to come on strong in the summer if he gets healthy.
While serving as a backup quarterback for much of the offseason due to the lack of depth behind Matt Scott, Richard Morrison has also spent some time at receiver. The soon-to-be junior could excel as a different type of playmaking receiver in Rodriguez's system. Morrison can catch passes down field and make plays with his feet as well as his arm. Rodriguez is known for his unconventional approach on offense, so it should be interesting to see what he does with Morrison's variety of talents.
Patrick Onwuasor was a player that made some noise after arriving on campus last summer, but there was too much proven depth in front of him for him to see the field. Now with his redshirt season behind him, Onuwassor is looking to work his way into the rotation. He's a big target with playmaking ability, but with others that fit a similar description in front of him, Onuwassor could find the moving up the depth chart to be a difficult task.
There is another big body on the roster in David Richards. He provides the offense with a strong, physical target with solid hands. His style tends to be overlooked in the type of scheme Rodriguez runs, but his physical gifts may force him on to the field consistently at some point in the future
One surprise of spring camp has been Johnny Jackson. A walk-on, Jackson is being given just as much of an opportunity as anyone else and has done very well. He has worked his way into the rotation during practice and has shown excellent hands and a solid knowledge of the offense despite just learning it in the last couple of months. Rodriguez has a history of playing walk-ons and Jackson could be the next one in line to see the field.
Arizona brought in a trio of receivers from the 2012 class. Trey Griffey, the son of former Major League Baseball star Ken Griffey Jr., was brought in as a below-the-radar type. There is a strong possibilitye will redshirt in 2012 and could make an impact down the road.
Clive Georges is an interesting prospect because of his style of play. He is a gifted athlete that can be utilized in a variety of ways, so look for him to make an impact over time at Arizona.
Same goes for Jarrell Bennett. The shifty wideout from New Orleans can be used all over the field and can be a threat through the air as well as the ground. He is the typical Rich Rodriguez receiver that excels in his scheme.
While wide receiver doesn't get the focus that running back does in this offense, it is still an important cog in the system. With all of the depth and talent available at the position, Rodriguez should feel secure about the receiver position from here going forward.
State of the Roster: Wide Receiver
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