The Arizona Wildcats are stacked at the receiver position. Cayleb Jones was the star of the group last year, and should be even better this year, but I think one member of the receiving corps that doesn't get enough recognition is Samajie Grant.
In 2014, Grant was Arizona's second-best receiver -- at least yardage-wise. As a sophomore, he racked up 718 receiving yards and six touchdowns. He also led the team with a 16.0 yards per catch average. As a small and shifty receiver that thrives on creating yards after the catch, Grant seems to be a perfect complement to Cayleb Jones, who is a bigger and more physical receiver.
When Jones was banged up with a hand injury last year, Grant really stepped his game up. During Arizona's four game winning streak at the end of the regular season, Jones just had a combined 115 receiving yards. Grant, on the other hand, accumulated 80+ receiving yards in each game, plus caught four touchdown passes -- including a 91-yard, two touchdown game in the win over ASU. With Cayleb limited, the Wildcats really needed another receiver to fill the void, and Samajie did just that.
Still, Grant did have some struggles of his own -- especially off the field. On the same night of the Territorial Cup win, he was was charged with driving under the influence of drugs, two minor in possession of liquor charges, and driving without a license. Samajie didn't start in the Pac-12 Championship Game because of it, and basically was a non-factor when he was on the field, as he had just one catch for four yards.
Grant did bounce back in the Fiesta Bowl with four catches for 69 yards and a touchdown, and more importantly has stayed out of trouble since the incident. Hopefully that's a sign that he has learned from his mistakes.
As we move closer to the 2015 season opener, I don't think it would be wise to expect Grant's receiving numbers to be much different than they were in 2014. That is not a knock on him at all. He is clearly a good player with a perfect skill set for Rich Rod's offense. He has also improved each year since arriving in Tucson.
However, with the team planning to use tight ends this year, four of the five leading receivers returning, and Cayleb Jones likely to break the 1,000 yard mark again, it's going to be tough for Grant to improve on his 2014 numbers. With the sheer number of receiving targets Arizona will use, there is a figurative cap on how many targets and yards he will be able to get -- a cap which he may have hit or come close to last season.
Either way, stats are not always the best way to measure production or development, and I expect Grant to continue to improve as a player whether or not his numbers reflect it. In the end, Samajie is one of Arizona's best receiving options, which says a lot considering how much depth there is at the position right now.