With the loss of Shaquille Richardson to the NFL, the Arizona Wildcats are searching for a new corner to play across the field from Jonathan McKnight.
That man is likely to be one of McKnight's closest friends, Jarvis McCall Jr., a redshirt freshman who struggled to keep up with the third team last year. Let's find out what has made him so much better this fall.
1. What have you improved on in the last year?
McCall: The main thing is my conditioning. And learning the plays. Those are two things that I've learned and overcome over the last year.
2. Do you feel more comfortable in the defensive scheme?
Oh yeah, I feel real comfortable because I know what I'm doing. I know the plays. I'm not nearly as hesitant as I was last year and I'm more conditioned so now I can go longer. Last year I was with the 3's, and I could barely go with the 3's last year. Now I'm running with the 1's, and my conditioning is much better.
3. How has this group of receivers helped the defensive backs in practice?
Oh, we've got a great receiving corps, so it's like each rep we get against each receiver, they're getting better and we're getting better. Cayleb Jones, Austin Hill, Samajie Grant, Nate (Phillips), all those guys run great routes, they play fast and physical, so it's like we're getting better just going against them all the time.
4. Who's the most fun to cover in that group for you?
I just like covering 'em all cuz I get better because they're so good. So if I go up against one of those guys every rep, I know I'm getting better and I feel like they're getting better because I'm pushing them like they're pushing me. I just like competing.
5. What is Jonathan McKnight's role in your improvement?
Since Day 1 last year, Jonathan has been on me and on top of me, helping me if I have any questions or anything like how to play something, or a coverage, or a lineman. If it's third and long, he'll tell me if I gotta press on a man. If I got a question on a coverage, he'll tell me how to play it, show me how to play it. Since day one of last year all the way up to this point he's been on me and just been staying with me. He's (my closest friend) and Will Parks too, Jourdon Grandon too. But it's been mainly Jon McKnight staying on top of me and if I have any, ANY, questions, he answers them and shows me how to do it and tell me why I need to do it instead of just doing it.
6. You have big hitting ability. Where does that come from?
I learned that since Little League, cuz I like to hit. I don't mind hitting as a corner. I just don't mind it. I like to come down. In high school all the way to college, I just like to hit. I don't know what it is.
7. Favorite part of the football building?
That we don't really have to leave, everything is here that we need. I can go over here and watch some film. If I want to take a nap I go in the lounge. If I need to get treatment I go downstairs. If I wanna go play video games and get my mind off football, I go in there and play the video game. Everything I need is in this building instead of having to go home. I like that everything I need is in the building.
8. Go-to video game?
We playing a little 2K, a little FIFA, a little bit of Madden.
9. Best FIFA player on the team?
Probably Anu (Solomon). He's probably the top FIFA player I know. (It should be noted we were standing right next to Anu at this point)
10. Favorite movie?
Friday Night Lights or Paid in Full
11. Best memory from high school?
Winning the state championship my senior year. We played Anu the first game of the season. We were undefeated. We came out here to Vegas and played Anu and we had to beat 'em. But winning the state championship is probably my greatest memory.
Bonus question: How often do you remind Anu about that game?
We bring that up probably every other day. Every other day. That was a great memory going out there, playing in Vegas, playing someone different from a different state for once. That was really great.
Anu Solomon: I played against everybody on this team. I got Servite players, I got Chaparral players. And we just tease each other and we get along, but uh, (laughing) shoulda had that game. Shoulda had that game. But you know, can't change the past.