Arizona football: Nate Phillips named FWAA Freshman All-American

Christian Petersen

Nate Phillips brings in major award

Nate Phillips has been impressive since his first day in an Arizona Wildcats uniform, and he capped it off today by bringing in Freshman All-American honors from the Football Writers Association of America.

Phillips, out of Basha HS in Chandler, AZ, led the team in receptions (51), receiving yards (696), and receiving TDs (7) in 2013.

In addition to his receiving duties this year, Phillips had 10 punt returns for 55 yards, and six kickoff returns for 116 yards.

Every skill position player on the offensive All-America team was a true freshman with the exception of Jameis Winston of Florida State.  Phillips was joined by three UCLA Bruins (Alex Redmond, Eddie Vanderdoes and Myles Jack) as well as Colorado's Addison Gillam.

One fun note from the team is that Phillips is easily the shortest player at 5-7.  The next shortest non-specialist is 5-11.

In a year where the passing game was the major question heading into the season, the combo of Phillips and B.J. Denker turned out to be a great weapon for an Arizona offense that needed some other attack besides Ka'Deem Carey.

Yes, Arizona had the worst passing offense in the Pac-12 this season, but the Cats were 31st in total offense in the country thanks to that threat of both Phillips and Samajie Grant, as well as senior Terrence Miller.

Denker and Co. were hurt by the loss of Austin Hill, but as the young group of receivers gained experience and learned RichRod's system, the offense started to gain steam, capped off by a dominating effort against Boston College in the Independence Bowl.

Next year should be fun with all these young guys coming back plus the additions of Hill, DaVonte' Neal, Cayleb Jones and Cameron Denson.  But for now, let's celebrate just how good Phillips was as a true freshman with a first-year starter getting him the ball.

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