The Arizona football team begins its 2013 season against Northern Arizona at Arizona Stadium on Aug. 30, which is 62 days away. From now until then, this Web site will count down the days with facts about the Wildcats, their players, coaching staff and opponents. This is not a ranking, only a list of 100 facts and observances related to the 2013 Arizona football team and coach Rich Rodriguez.
Some of Arizona’s receivers are going so wide they are out of the picture for the 2013 season.
Dan Buckner is off to the Arizona Cardinals as an undrafted free agent after exhausting his eligibility.
Austin Hill, a likely All-Pac-12 performer who started 12 games last season as a slot receiver, tore an ACL in the spring, making him doubtful for the upcoming season.
And now this: Tyler Slavin, who made the touchdown catch in Arizona’s thrilling comeback win over Nevada in the New Mexico Bowl, is no longer with the program. He Tweeted Thursday that he has left Arizona. He is not listed on the UA’s roster.
Buckner, Hill and Slavin combined for 164 receptions for 2,361 yards and 17 touchdowns last season.
Arizona has not offered an explanation as to why Slavin, a junior from Corona, Calif., has abruptly left. He played in all 13 games as a reserve last year and caught 22 passes for 224 yards, including a career-high five catches for 73 yards against Oregon State. He averaged 10.2 yards per catch.
His winning 2-yard touchdown catch from Matt Scott with 19 seconds left in the New Mexico Bowl was his first career touchdown reception.
|ARIZONA’s TOP QB-WR
CONNECTIONS SINCE 2000
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David Richards and Terrence Miller are Arizona’s lone returning wide receivers with starting experience. Richards had nine starts last season as a freshman. He caught 29 passes for 248 yards with three touchdowns. Miller, a senior who will likely play the slot/tight end position at 6-4 and 235 pounds, started four games last year as a wide receiver.
The Wildcats are not void of talent at the wide receiver, but that talent is raw. Redshirt freshmen Trey Griffey and Clive Georges, both prospects from Florida, will see more action.
With an inexperienced quarterback — either B.J. Denker, Anu Solomon or Jesse Scroggins — the one positive way to look at the situation: They can develop along with the wide receivers and create a chemistry.
Arizona will have a different quarterback and leading receiver for the third consecutive year, a rare occurrence. The last time that happened was from 2002-2004 when the Wildcats had Jason Johnson, Kris Heavner and Richard Kovalchek (in order) as the top quarterback and Bobby Wade, Biren Ealy and Syndric Steptoe respectively as the leading receivers.
Scott developed a connection with Hill last season after they did not start together previously. The Nick Foles-to-Juron Criner connection in 2011 was good enough to place both in the NFL.
Rich Rodriguez can also pull from his slot receiver positions, which include sophomore Johnny Jackson and junior Garic Wharton, especially if Notre Dame transfer Davonte’ Neal gains immediate eligibility.
High-profile recruit T.J. Johnson, of Cape Coral, Fla., might also get significant playing time, but he is more of a slot receiver at 5-8 and 165.
The best No. 62 to wear the Arizona jersey, according to TucsonCitizen.com’s Anthony Gimino is offensive lineman Roger Myers (1964-66), an All-WAC selection as a senior.
WILDABOUTAZCATS.net publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He also writes blogs for Lindy’s College Sports, TucsonCitizen.com and Sports Illustrated-sponsored site ZonaZealots.com.