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Arizona Football: Garic Wharton returns home this week

Garic Wharton is the only Wildcat playing at home this week

Garic Wharton led Arizona with 35 receiving yards in the season opener against NAU
Garic Wharton led Arizona with 35 receiving yards in the season opener against NAU
Christian Petersen

Garic Wharton,a guy largely unknown on the football field until the final two games of 2012.  He was mostly known for his track skills coming out of high school

He said he's also run a 4.3 40 yard dash and a 10.3 100 meter before.

Wharton is one of two Wildcats that are going home this week.  Anu Solomon will be on the trip, Rich Rodriguez said after practice on Wednesday.  Don't expect Solomon to play, but Wharton will definitely play a big role.

When he found out Solomon was coming to Arizona this year, it made the receiver pretty excited.

"Before he got here, I hit him up on Twitter, introduced myself and told him we gotta get to work."

Going to high school in Las Vegas can have its perks too.  What was his favorite memory?  "Going to prom, then going to the strip after.  It was crackin'."

In high school, he had artificial turf, so the changes to Arizona Stadium this year might help him more than most players.

"That's what I'm used to.  I'm not really used to playing on grass.  I'm definitely comfortable on turf."

So why come to Arizona, a school with no current connections to the Las Vegas area?  Mike Stoops and Arizona were the only big school that wanted Wharton to play receiver.

"I wanted to play wide receiver, and a lot of other PAC-10 schools wanted me to play DB.  U of A was one of the first schools that wanted me to play wide receiver.  So I stuck with them."

Luckily for Wharton, RichRod had the same plan for him, and he stayed at Arizona and continued to improve at receiver.

"(The transition) was smooth.  It was a lot more faster tempo of course.  Once you get passed that it's the same."

Wharton had no catches his freshman year, and just 7 catches for 105 yards in the first 11 games of his sophomore year.

But in the Arizona State and Nevada games, Wharton was able to break out in a big way, picking up 12 catches for 159 yards and a TD in those two games.

"I think early in the year, I lacked confidence," said Wharton.  "But as the year progressed, I gained confidence and I really felt like I couldn't be stopped at the end."

"When the game is on, that's when it's time to shine, and that's when I'm at my best."

In the NAU game, he led the team with 35 receiving yards, including a 31 yarder during the first, and really the only good drive from the Wildcat offense in the opener.

So lets get to know the junior receiver a little bit better...

What are some other things that Wharton likes?

His favorite NFL team is the Oakland Raiders, and he didn't want to go with DeSean Jackson as his favorite player because "that's so cliche", so he went RGIII.

Before the game, he has to listen to the right music.  Tupac, Young Jeezy and Kanye.

His favorite part of LSFF?  The cafeteria.  And his favorite pregame meal is pasta, preferably shrimp alfredo.

It's a good thing he likes the cafeteria, because to play receiver he probably needs to put on weight.  He's put on 5-7 pounds since last year.

"Nobody's a perfect player.  I have a lot of speed but I don't have a lot of size and strength.  Getting off the line and jams is something I need to work on."

For this year, Wharton just "wants to play the best that I can.  Scare DBs, scare the defense with my speed."

He may be hurt by the lack of a strong passing game this year, but Wharton will get his chances to show off that speed and make some nice plays.  Hopefully for him, he'll get that chance in front of a bunch of his friends and family this weekend in Vegas.