Austin Hill makes 2014 Maxwell Award preseason watch list

USA TODAY Sports

Arizona receiver Austin Hill still is getting his due despite missing the 2013 season with a knee injury.

It happened ages ago. At least, it feels that way. Remember when Arizona football wideout Austin Hill went blow-to-blow with USC receiver Marqise Lee back in 2012, piling up 259 receiving yards? Or when he finished the season with a 175 yards and two touchdowns in a thrilling New Mexico Bowl win?

Hill's breakout season quickly was forgotten when he sat out 2013 with an ACL injury. But with a few months to go before the 2014 college football season kicks off, Hill is back and perhaps expected to be the Arizona Wildcats' best player.

Named to the 2014 Maxwell Award preseason watch list on Monday, Hill still has the attention of some of the more important college football voices.

After catching 21 passes for 311 yards in 2011, his 2012 campaign included 81 catches for 1,364 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Oddly enough, the Wildcats' receiving corps showed the biggest signs of improvement last season as Hill sat out, all despite playing with a quarterback, B.J. Denker, who many didn't believe could win eight football games. Add Hill to the mix after giving an inexperienced group so many reps in 2013, and whomever of the quarterback options to come out with the starting job will surely have options to succeed.

Between transfers Cayleb Jones and DaVonte' Neal, sophomores Trey Griffey, Samajie Grant and Nate Phillips, and vets David Richards and Johnny Jackson, there's no doubt this run-happy attack will have the ability to go down the field this season. Throw in a healthy Hill and perhaps this is the deepest -- if not best -- receiving group in the Pac-12.

Gurrola named to Rimington list

Arizona center Steven Gurrola was named to the preseason Rimington watch list for 2014, given to the nation's best center. Last year, he was the surprise leader of an offensive line that was second in the Pac-12 in rushing yards per game and sacks allowed.

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