Despite losing two of its top targets from last season's roster in Delashaun Dean and Terrell Turner, wide receiver is expected to be a position of strength in 2010 for the Arizona offense
There are many reasons why Wildcats' fans should be excited about its group of wideouts in the upcoming campaign, but there may be some hesitation by fans to call the position a "strength" when the team has to replace two of its top targets.
A few players have emerged in the offseason as potential playmakers and there is plenty of talent that returns from a season ago.
Obviously there is Juron Criner, who emerged as the teams most electrifying receiver as a sophomore in 2009. Now a junior, Criner could develop into one of the best receivers in the nation given the tools he brings to the table and what he did on the field last year.
Criner had a relatively small number in terms of receiving yards when compared to some of the Pac-10's best, but that's mostly due to UA's nature of spreading the ball around evenly. It was when Criner got a hold of the ball that he became deadly and if he and Foles have made the chemistry between them stronger, Criner could be ready for a monster season.
Lining up opposite of Criner is where the real question mark is. There are many options the Wildcats can turn to here and it should be interesting to see how it unfolds.
This is where Dean was supposed to start as a senior and bounce back from a rough junior year. With that out of the realm of possibility, UA will now have to find someone to replace him, but with so much talent on the roster, that won't be as difficult as it would have been in the past.
Travis Cobb is a name that has come up when mentioning possible starters. Cobb was used primarily on kickoff returns in 2009 where he excelled. UA is hoping that his success in the return game will cross over to the offensive side of the field. Cobb is shifty, fast and if he can find his way onto the field, he has the talent to make things happen with the ball in his hand.
A player that emerged in the spring as a potential reliable target is Gino Crump. Crump sat out 2009 as a transfer from West Virginia and was relatively unknown to Arizona fans. He made a name for himself early in the offseason as he was impressive in practice as well as the spring scrimmage.
Crump may not have as much experience in the Arizona offense as the players around him, but he looked like he had been playing in UA's offense for years with how he played during the first session of the offseason. If that continues, he could very well start in 2010.
David Roberts and David Douglas are two receivers that made big impacts last season. That should continue in 2010 as both figure to be in the mix again. Roberts showed excellent hands and the ability to catch passes over the middle while Douglas showed the ability to be a very good possession receiver.
Bug Wright could be used a lot more in the upcoming season as long as he stays healthy. Wright was supposed to assume the role that Mike Thomas and Syndric Steptoe held before him, but injuries kept him from finding a consistent role. He is a fast receiver that can get open quickly and could be used a lot in the screen game.
Terrence Miller's redshirt was burned a season ago but wasn't used all that often. His big frame should allow him to line up all over the field. If Miller can crack an already deep rotation, he has what it takes to develop into a big-time target in the Pac-10.
JUCO transfer Dexter Ransom is a player to keep an eye on. He was highly thought of before an ACL injury hindered his progress a little. Ransom has all of the measurables and athleticism needed to succeed at the Pac-10 level, it's just a matter of whether or not he can put it all together against tougher competition.
Richard Morrison changed from quarterback to wide receiver in hopes of making an impact at some point down the road. Morrison was recruited play wide receiver by several colleges and has a very high ceiling at the position. He had a good showing in the spring and provides depth for now and a lot of promise for the future.
This doesn't include the three incoming freshmen from the 2010 class. All are likely to redshirt unless a need for one of them to play sprouts up. They all bode well for the future, but the talent that already exists on the roster will most likely give them a year to prepare for the next level.
The Wildcats lost two heavy hitters at wide receiver, but the style of offense and the production from other weapons in 2009 make the subtractions seem miniscule. As long as the young receivers that produced last season continue to improve and grow, wide receiver will continue to be a strength in the upcoming season.
UA remains strong at WR
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