It's widely-known that the Arizona Wildcats are likely to have one of the best groups of wide receivers in the country next season, which has led to a couple of foreseeable roster shakeups this week.
First off, Garic Wharton has officially left the program. Wharton graduated in May, so he'll be able to play right away if he chooses to return to college football.
It seemed like Wharton was poised to have a big year in 2013 after having a couple of breakout games at the end of the 2012 season, but things never really panned out. The passing game wasn't built for a receiver with the outside skill sets that Wharton possesses, and he was dealing with a nagging hip injury for most of the year.
Wharton finished the 2013 campaign fourth on the team with 291 receiving yards, and was tied with Trey Griffey for second with two receiving TDs.
I talked to Wharton before the start of last season, and I got the sense that he was a guy who was always on the outside looking in when it came to the wide receivers. Before Anu Solomon showed up in the Old Pueblo, Wharton was the only Las Vegas guy, and he immediately reached out to Solomon when the young QB committed. I just got the impression that he never felt like he was fully immersed with the players here.
And with DaVonte' Neal eligible this year, that's essentially a more skilled version of Wharton right there. Add in other small guys Nate Phillips and Samajie Grant, and you've got Wharton wasting all his speed on the sidelines.
Another move that thinned out the lower half of the receiving depth chart was the switching of Trevor Ermisch to safety. This has been in the works for a little while, as Ermisch was learning coverages during spring practice. He has been recovering from a torn ACL that he suffered against Cal last season. While he's been a special teams player primarily, he did earn a scholarship from the coaching staff last fall.
These moves were needed as some big-time names will be catching passes from whoever plays quarterback this year. In addition to Neal, fellow transfer Cayleb Jones will be eligible, and Austin Hill will be back. Add on to that the continued improvement of Trey Griffey, Nate Phillips, and Samajie Grant, and you've got yourself quite the receiving corps. Oh, and hopefully David Richards being 100% healthy after struggling to stay on the field last year. And Cameron Denson coming in from Salpointe.
Yeah, that seems like a pretty good lineup right there.