Walk-ons ready to contribute

It is no secret that Arizona will rely on some walk-ons this season. Read on to see three that will be playing a large role.

We are roughly a week away from the beginning of the college football campaign and the Arizona Wildcats are attempting to put the final touches on the transformation of the program before the first game.

To say there have been a lot of changes would be a severe understatement. From the staff to the system, from the culture to atmosphere, UA football is a completely different animal in 2012.

One of the biggest alterations over the past eight months or so has been the usage of walk-on prospects. Under Mike Stoops and his staff, certain walk-ons were given the opportunity, but it was mostly out of necessity and rarely were they given the same chance as scholarship players.

Under Rich Rodriguez, walk-ons have been given a legitimate opportunity to prove themselves and several have shown they have what it takes to battle for playing time.

With several jobs up for grabs this past offseason, three specific players have made the most of their chance and will likely make an impact on the field.

Johnny Jackson, WR

Despite a plethora of competition at wide receiver, Jackson started making noise during the spring and it has carried over into fall camp.

Battling for the starting slot-receiver, Jackson is right in the mix as he has displayed solid route running and the ability to be a reliable receiving target.

Receiver remains one of the deeper positions on the roster and the fact that Jackson has been battling for a spot for months shows how far he has come under the new staff. Expect to see him on the field frequently.

Vince Miles, S

With depleted depth in the secondary, Miles has worked his way into a battle for a starting job. Whether or not he actually earns that position is to be seen, but Miles' performance has exceeded expectations this offseason and he has pushed talented players for time.

At the very least, Miles will see the field as a backup and given that Casteel tends to utilize five defensive backs or more most of the time, Miles is likely to be a significant contributor in the secondary in 2012.

Shadow Williams, LB

Another area where the Wildcats lack depth, Williams came on to campus this summer and immediately inserted himself into the battle for playing time.

The freshman will likely see time as a backup and at special teams but, he has seen time with the first string defense during practices and scrimmages.

The move of Marquis Flowers to linebacker certainly makes it a little more difficult for Williams to crack the starting lineup, but given his size, work-ethic and what he has displayed on the field over the past month, it would be surprising if Williams was forced to watch from the sidelines more than he plays.


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