Position Review: Wide receiver

Arizona had two receivers that had a great year. Read on to find out which receivers did well, who will be coming back next year, and more.

This year:

Austin HillArizona's best receiver burst onto the scene in the first game of the year, making a diving catch in the end zone on his way to a 139-yard performance foreshadowing the extraordinary season he was about to have.

In the end, the sophomore finished the season with a record-tying eleven touchdowns. In addition, Hill's 81 receptions and 1,364 receiving yards sit as the fifth and third best in single season history.

The best news with him is that he is only a sophomore and will have at least one more year in an Arizona uniform. The possibilities are endless if he can continue to make jumps like he did between his first and second year.

Dan Buckner – Coming into the season Buckner was Arizona's biggest threat in the receiving corps. Buckner was building off a year that saw him catch plenty of balls while backing up NFL receiver Juron Criner.

The lone senior at the receiver position, he was often looked to in times of need and demonstrated consistency with fellow senior Matt Scott. Buckner finished second in receiving on the season, but few could have imagined that Hill's numbers would be as great as they are. The Texas transfer finished with 773 yards on 61 catches with five of those being for touchdowns.

Richard Morrison – Despite starting the year in the starting line-up, the junior had his share of follies that changed that. Morrison was on the receiving end of dropped passes as well as muffed punts. It took a few games, but eventually other players overtook him on the depth chart and he was no longer a contributor. Morrison did not play the final four games of the season.

Tyler Slavin – Slavin is the perfect example of a player who went through ups and downs throughout the course of the year. The sophomore suffered through a series of dropped balls in the early parts of the season, including a critical fourth down against USC. That game marked a decline in Slavin's playing time, as he didn't catch any balls in the following three games. With that being said, credit has to be given to the sophomore as he finished the season with a strong showing on the final two drives of Arizona's season, scoring the game-winning touchdown

David Richards – David Richards started his Arizona career with a solid season. He has good hands and can develop into a quality receiver over the course of time. In his first campaign, he totaled 29 catches for 298 yards and three touchdowns, numbers that show promise as Richards redshirted last season.

Garic Wharton – The sophomore took time to get acclimated this year, but got things figured out and turned into a productive player toward the end of the season. Wharton's speed makes him a legitimate long ball threat whenever he steps onto the field. This is evidenced by his 13.9 yards per catch and two touchdowns. If he can build off those numbers next season, Wharton will be hard to keep off the field because he can stretch defenses with more consistency.

Johnny Jackson – The walk on surprised everybody by earning reps with the first string in fall camp. However, Jackson followed that up without any catches during the first two games of the season, including a shootout with Oklahoma State. To his credit, he continued to work and earn playing time scoring his first career touchdown in the upset win against USC. Jackson may be up against plenty of talented players in spring camp, but with experience and work ethic on his side, it is easy to imagine him getting more playing time.

Who's gone: Dan Buckner (graduated)

Who's back: Ademola Adeniran (junior), R.J. Aguero (sophomore), Jarrell Bennett (freshman), Trevor Ermisch (junior), Clive Georges (freshman), Trey Griffey (freshman), Austin Hill (junior), Johnny Jackson (sophomore), Richard Morrison (senior), David Richards (sophomore), Tyler Slavin (junior), Garic Wharton (junior), and Sean Willet (senior).

Who's coming: Samajie Grant (freshman), Paul Elvira (freshman), Nate Phillips (freshman), T.J. Johnson, Mario Alford

Outlook: The Wildcats are in a good situation at receiver with several qualified returners for the upcoming season. Buckner is the only player that is leaving, but Arizona should be able to fill that void.

The spring practices will be a good time for the redshirting players to step up in the hopes of filling the void left by Buckner. Some of the players that got fewer targets this year are likely to step in and grab the starting spot, but that may not always be the case.

Wharton and Richards are both in prime position to take over for Buckner, although the former may continue to play as an outside receiver with his speed. Eventually, Rodriguez's scheme calls for many speedy players, but until it is fully implemented, the Wildcats may have to keep Wharton where he is.

Trey Griffey and Jarrell Bennett have been performing well in practices and are quality candidates to fill some holes that will be opening up. Both are quick, explosive play makers and should earn plenty of playing time with each practice. Griffey has good hands and will be a great possession receiver over time. Bennett can use his speed to take screen passes for big gains or blow by defenders as a deep threat.

Similar to Bennett is Clives George. However, George still has some work to do in the weight room before he can expect to see the field. Listed at 166-pounds prior to the season, he has put on some weight, but still has plenty of work to do before the fall camp.

Even with Arizona's quarterback of the future still undecided, there is one thing that is certain. Whoever plays under center next season will have plenty of receivers to throw to.

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