Countdown To Spring: Wide Receivers

Arizona had a rocky season last year with their wide receivers. The group had a lot of drops, but also showed a lot of promise. The Cats added some talent on signing day, but those guys won't be in Tucson until the fall.

1. Syndric Steptoe, 5-9, 185, Sr.
1. Anthony Johnson, 6-2, 205, Jr.
2. Mike Thomas, 5-8, 178, So.
2. B.J. Dennard, 5-11, 194, Jr.
3. Bobby McCoy, 6-1, 190, So.
PLAYERS LOST: Mike Jefferson (transfer), Aaron Butler (graduation)

2005 Stats

Player Rec  Yds  TD  Avg
Mike Thomas 52 771 5  14.8
Sydric Steptoe 37 493 1 13.3
AnthonyJohnson 32 419 3 13.1
BJ Dennard 7 72 0 10.3
Bobby McCoy 1 5 0 5

LAST YEAR: The Cats had a lot of critical drops. In every close loss there was at least one drop. Things were bad before the first snap as JC standout B.J. Vickers was ruled academically ineligible shortly before leaving for Salt Lake City and the season opener. Although there were plenty of problems, there were some huge bright spots. Mike Thomas was selected as the conference's co-freshman of the year. Syndric Steptoe continued to be a reliable target and Anthony Johnson shook off a huge drop against Utah and continuously improved as the season went along.

THIS YEAR: The Cats are waiting on three talented freshmen, all of whom could make an immediate impact. Although the team is anxiously awaiting their arrival, they won't have them this spring.

The Cats' two undersized receivers Syndric Steptoe and Mike Thomas are the standouts of the group. What they lack in size they make up for in speed and guts. Thomas may have been an award winner, but his season left on a negative as a broken hand kept him from making an impact in the loss to ASU. Steptoe has one season left to get to a bowl game and he seems motivated. A constant throughout the various coaching changes, Steptoe has been a great leader previously and expect that to continue in his final season.

Anthony Johnson needs to continue to improve, but made great strides by season's end. He can be the kind of physical receiver who can go over the middle and take a hit or make smaller defensive backs pay.

The two guys who may have the most eyes on them are B.J. Dennard and Bobby McCoy. Both have shown great flashes, but have yet to be impact players. McCoy, who was more of a track guy early on, is finally getting strong enough to take the pounding necessary to play wide receiver in the Pac-10. He's got tremendous speed and the Cats will be looking to see if he can become a much needed deep threat.

Dennard was tried as a two-way player for his first two seasons, but will get the bulk, if not the entirety, of his work on offense. The Cats need to see what the athlete from Phoenix can do when he focuses on catching the ball.

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