Criner ready to prove himself

2009 was a year of many breakouts and surprises from the Arizona roster and one player that definitely emerged is wide receiver Juron Criner. After playing sparingly as a freshman, Criner shot up the depth charts as a sophomore to become UA's clear-cut number one target on offense.

2009 was a year of many breakouts and surprises from the Arizona roster and one player that definitely emerged is wide receiver Juron Criner. After playing sparingly as a freshman, Criner shot up the depth charts as a sophomore to become UA's clear-cut number one target on offense.

His size, strength and speed makes him arguably the most dangerous pure wideout in the Pac-10 and has displayed the ability to play on Sunday's one day. Entering his junior year, there is a high possibility that, with an equally impressive junior year, 2010 could be Criner's last as a college athlete.

Before we get too ahead of ourselves, we should probably talk about the type of season he is preparing for.

For starters, neither Terrell Turner nor Delashaun Dean will be there to support him so he will have to step up. He will have to carry a much larger load on his back with two experienced receivers gone, but if anyone has shown the ability to do a lot on his own at receiver, it's Criner.

Quarterback Nick Foles obviously developed a lot of chemistry with Criner last season and if that continues, Criner could easily pick up the load left by the departed receivers.

In a lot of ways, Criner is the most important player on offense. Sure, the running game sets up the pass and quarterback is the most important position on the field, but Criner's playmaking ability is so dynamic that teams will have to pay more attention to him than any other weapon on the field for Arizona.

Criner has the ability to go the distance on every touch and there are only a handful of players in the Pac-10 that can claim such ability. He will get plenty of opportunity and while the supporting cast around him must step up, Criner will help them immensely by taking a lot of focus away from them.

While the Wildcats have plenty of talent at wide receiver, Criner is one of the few players that has proven it on the field. As long as he continues to be an extraordinary playmaker at wide receiver, UA will continue to grow into one of the best offenses, not only in the Pac-10, but the whole nation.

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