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CATCH UP ON THE COUNTDOWN BY VISITING: ARIZONA’S TOP 100 INDIVIDUAL RECORDS
Only 34 days separate us from the start of Rich Rodriguez’s fifth season, when the Arizona Wildcats football team plays Brigham Young on Sept. 3 at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.
As is customary on this Web site, we will count down the days with an interesting element associated with each day. This year the topic is the top 100 individual records in Arizona’s storied football past.
In past years, we have counted down the top games and highlighted players and some of the top plays in Arizona Wildcats football history. A couple of years ago in our top 100 countdown, we showcased the 1914 team that was responsible for Arizona becoming the “Wildcats”.
Back to this year’s countdown of the top 100 individual records in the 117 years of Arizona football:
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Bobby Wade’s school-record 3,351 yards receiving in his career from 1999 to 2002 ranked second in the Pac-10 record book at the time behind Stanford’s Troy Walters, who still holds the record of 3,986 yards from 1996 to 1999.
PAC-12 LEADERS CAREER RECEIVING YARDS[table “” not found /]
Most Receiving Yards, Career: 3,351, Bobby Wade, 1999-2002 (230 receptions)
Pac-12 record: 3,986, Troy Walters, Stanford (244 receptions)
NCAA record: 5,005, Trevor Insley, Nevada, 1996-99 (298 receptions)
Bobby Wade’s production came at a time when Arizona’s passing game started to become more of a threat at the turn of the century.
Starting with Dennis Northcutt’s career from 1996 to 1999, Arizona’s receivers have featured a standout of historic proportions. Northcutt was followed by Bobby Wade from 1999 to 2002. Mike Thomas emerged as a top receiver from 2005 to 2008, followed by Juron Criner from 2008 to 2011.
Interesting that in the coaching transitions from John Mackovic to Mike Stoops and then Stoops to Rich Rodriguez a break has occurred with receivers reaching the top five in receiving yards in school history.
Northcutt and Wade combined for 6,603 receiving yards from 1996 to 2002. Thomas and Criner had 6,090 from 2005 to 2011.
Northcutt became the first Arizona receiver to eclipse 3,000 career receiving yards in 1999. Wade was the next, amassing the school-record 3,351 yards. The closest to 3,000 before Northcutt and Wade was Theopolis “T” Bell with 2,508 yards all the way back from 1972 to 1975.
In case you’re wondering, Austin Hill — the successor to Criner as the top receiver — finished with 2,280 career receiving yards from 2011 to 2014. Cayleb Jones had 1,926 yards in 2014 and 2015 after transferring from Texas.
Arizona’s offense in Rodriguez’s spread offense is predicated on throwing to various receivers. Senior receivers Nate Phillips, Samajie Grant and Trey Griffey combine for 3,783 yards in their careers. Phillips has 1,532 yards followed by Grant (1,392) and Griffey (859).
With Arizona not having a primary target, Wade’s record at Arizona appears to be safe for a while.
ARIZONA CAREER RECEIVING YARDS
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Wade records at Arizona listed previously in this countdown:
53. Most Passes Caught, Season: 93, 2002 (12 games)
83. Most Touchdown Passes Caught, Game: 3, at Cal, Nov. 3, 2001; tied with Cayleb Jones, Juron Criner, Mike Thomas, Scott Piper, Charlie McKee, Joe Hernandez and Bill Glazier.
ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.