2002 Recruiting: Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

The Cats lost a top-50 receiver when David Gray changed his mind and committed to Cal. In year's past it would have been a huge blow to the Cats. This year however the Cats are in good shape. While they would still like to have Gray, they are still bringing in three quality receivers, all of whom could make an impact. They could step in right away, as the Cats lose two key receivers in Malosi Leonard and Brandon Marshall.

Michael Jefferson

Mike Jefferson

HT: 6-3
WT: 205
40: 4.4
Rankings: #7 (****)
Home: El Paso, TX (Parkland HS)

Jefferson is the tall, elite receiver that the Wildcats have lacked. Jefferson has explosive speed, good hands and is a fantastic leaper. He has a reputation as a hard worker. This season he caught 30 passes for 710 yards and nine TD's. He also played DB in high school and is a dangerous return man. Chose the Cats over Colorado, Purdue, Texas Tech and Texas A&M.

"I liked it (Arizona) a lot," Jefferson said. "I was impressed. I liked the coaching staff and players. The coaches told me I have to show them that I can't play right away."

2002 Outlook: The only way Jefferson does not see the field is if Gary Love, Lance Relford and Ricky Williams all make dramatic improvements over the summer. Even if one of those players makes strides, expect Jefferson to be a key part of the Wildcats' passing game.


Juan Valentine

HT: 6-0
WT: 190
Rankings: NR (***)
Home: Tyler, TX (Tyler Junior College)

Valentine originally signed with the Wildcats out of high school, but failed to qualify. He spent two years at Tyler JC where Wildcat coaches remained in contact. The Wildcats' loyalty paid off as they finally get this speedster to Tucson. Many compare Valentine to former Cat wide receiver Dennis Northcutt. He has blazing speed and ran a 4.30 in the 40 at the NIKE Camp in Texas coming out of high school two years ago.

2002 Outlook: The Cats did not bring him in to sit on the bench. Although he lacks the size that the Cats have been coveting, he may very well be the fastest receiver on the team. Bobby Wade and Andrae Thurman has proved that a receiver does not need to be tall in this system.


Biren Ealy

HT: 6-4
WT: 190
40: 4.4
Rankings: 12 (****)
Home: Houston, TX (Cypress Falls HS)

Tall and lanky, Ealy was equally effective as both WR and a DB. He caught 32 passes for 575 yards and two TD's. He possesses explosive speed, which was evident on an 86-yard kickoff return he had this season. At DB he had 29 tackles, five INT's, four knockdowns and two fumble recoveries. He also runs track. Ranked 94th overall in state by HeartlandRecruiting.com. Tom Lemmings has him rated as the 116th best player in the nation. Chose Arizona over Colorado,

"They (Arizona) will play we at wide receiver," Ealy said. "That's where I really want to play."

2002 Outlook: Ealy wants to play receiver and that's where the Cats will use him. Expect him to be in a similar position as Jefferson. He has the height and speed that Wildcat coaches covet. It will be tough to keep him off the field. Like Jefferson, he could make a big impact in 2002.

Javier Martinez

HT: 6-4
WT: 250
Rank: NR (****)
Home: Norwalk, CA (Cerritos College)

Big tight end who has decent hands and is a good blocker. He chose Arizona over Cal, Illinois, Michigan State and Washington. An early enrollee he is already attending classes and will be eligible for spring football.

2002 Outlook: Martines will come in and bolster the Wildcats' tight end depth. He is a big, blocking tight end that will compliment well with smaller receiver-types like Justin Levasseur and Steve Flemming.

Matt Padron

HT: 6-5
WT: 241
40: 4.52
Rank: NR (Home: San Antonio, TX (Tom Clark HS)

Padron is a big, bruising tight end who has shown flashes of being a solid receiver. Although he wasn't highly recruited, he does possess good size. Observers at the Texas Nike Camp said that he has good hands and quickly picked things up in the passing game. Was rated as one of Texas' top-10 TE's according to Texas Football Magazine.

2002 Outlook: More than likely Padron is a candidate to redshirt. He needs to work more in the passing game and at his size he could conceivably bulk up and make a move to the line.

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