Haden ready to contribute

Jonathan Haden missed the entire spring, but has been back to action in the fall. Read on to find out what his first impressions of camp are, why he is lining up at slot receiver, and more.

True freshman Jonathan Haden tried to get a head start on his incoming classmates by enrolling at Arizona in January, hoping to learn the system in the spring and be ready to compete for the starting position come fall camp.

Things didn't go as well as he thought, as he was forced to watch practices when he was not cleared by the NCAA.

"Everything has been good since I got here," Haden said. "I couldn't practice in the spring because of a high school class, but I went to all the practices and learned all the plays. I was watching everything and trying to stay in the best shape so that I was ready when I got cleared."

Even though he could not practice in the spring, his persistent watching of the workouts has eased the transition during fall camp.

"It's been easier for me than some of the other guys because I was here in the spring and I got to watch the plays and see the developments," he said. "It was a little easier for me, but I can imagine how difficult it is to jump in right away."

While the speed of practices and plays effects most incoming players, Haden believes that the size of the other players on the field is his biggest challenge.

"I would say that the size of everyone is the biggest difference," Haden said. "Especially since I am the smallest guy on the field.

"The speed is a little different, too, but I have been working on that. Hopefully, I will be one of the fastest guys on the field, so the speed won't be too hard to adjust to."

The running back chose the Wildcats in hopes of making a name for himself.

"It's definitely different not being able to see my parents and brothers for a while," he said. "I've gotten used to it now and I like being away from home. Here, I'm not known as Joe Haden's little brother.

"I'm known as Jonathan Haden and I'm making my own name out here. I'm building my own name here and helping to build this program as well."

Haden joins a multitude of backs that are fighting for playing time after Ka'Deem Carey left for the NFL.

"I see myself fitting in pretty well with them," he said. "We have a ton of different talents back there and we are all a little different and have different running styles. We all bring something way different to the table and the best guys are going to play."

Even though he is battling every day with his teammates for playing time, Haden hasn't lost sight of what is best for the team.

"It's very exciting knowing that we have so much talent back there," he said. "It really makes you unselfish. You see those guys working hard and you want to work harder, but at the end of the day, you want the best guy to be on the field.

"We all want to be the best guy, but if someone else is better, you want him out there so the team will be successful."

With the plethora of talent in the backfield and the coaching staff's knack for finding new wrinkles in an offensive scheme, Haden has taken a few snaps lined up in the slot position.

"I've been lining up at slot a bit in practices because the coaches think it is another chance for me to get on the field," Haden said. "They are just looking for more ways to get me on the field and I'm okay with that because I want to get out there and play.

"It will take some time getting used to. I played some slot in high school, but I never had to read a defense or anything like that. Since my brothers are corners, I used to line up against them when we played and I am going to use some of those skills and experiences to my advantage."

Haden's words about wanting the best for his team can be taken as genuine. When he arrived on campus, before ever putting on his practice pads, Haden got his school's famous saying tattooed on his biceps.

"Each of my brothers have tattoos of their schools on them somewhere," Haden said. "Joe has Florida, my brother Josh has Boston College, and Jordan has his school on his back. I just wanted to get something to show my new home, Arizona, so I got 'Bear Down'. "

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