To illustrate just how big a deal it was for Shawn Poindexter to get an extra season of college football eligibility, look no further than his last game with the Arizona Wildcats.
Less than two weeks removed from being informed by the NCAA he would be able to return in 2018, thus giving him a second senior season, Poindexter went out and had the best game of his career in the Foster Farms Bowl. He had five catches for 71 yards with a 31-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter.
If that game is an indication of what to expect from the 6-foot-5 wide receiver this fall, look out. We might have found Khalil Tate’s go-to target.
“It’s nothing but a blessing,” Poindexter said Tuesday of his extra year. “Going into last year I wasn’t sure, the NCAA wasn’t getting back to me. I wasn’t sure if I was going to have another year to play.”
Poindexter found out he was coming back in mid-December, the same day Arizona also learned offensive tackle Layth Friekh would get an extra season. Friekh, though, has to sit out the first two games of 2018 because he appeared in a game in 2014 as a true freshman.
That wasn’t the issue with Poindexter, a Peoria native who is entering only his fourth year of college football. He spent two years at Glendale Community College but only played in 2015, having gone there after originally signing to play volleyball at Cal Baptist in 2012.
Poindexter had 19 catches for 294 yards and a TD last season, numbers that he should blow away in 2018. Arizona is intent on having a more prolific passing game and Poindexter figures to play a big role as a much bigger target than the many slot-type receivers the Wildcats have.
“They view me as a guy who can help this team,” Poindexter said. “I think that my IQ has developed over the last three years.”
The extra year may help Poindexter play football beyond college, but whenever his playing career is over he already knows how the next chapter in his life will go. Living in a single-parent household with his three brothers gave him plenty of perspective on the importance of helping others around him if possible.
“Personally, I’d love to play football for as long as possible and use my platform to help at-risk youth in the community,” he said. “I want to open my own facility—I can’t give too many details on that because I don’t want anyone taking my idea. Almost like a Boys and Girls club.”