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UTSA vs. Arizona players of the game: Johnny Jackson and DaVonte' Neal shine in new roles

In week one, Jackson and Neal prove themselves

Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona's players of the game

Offensive: Johnny Jackson

It's been a long road for Johnny Jackson at Arizona, who was once a starting wide receiver back in 2012, but his role quickly dwindled down in 2013. He switched over to the defensive side of the ball in 2014 as a safety, and made the switch back to receiver for 2015.

"I'm glad we moved Johnny back to wide receiver," Rodriguez said. "Looking at the depth chart three weeks ago I knew Johnny was going to play in tonight's game. He was a starter at one point at wide out and he played well tonight. He;s one of the guys that had a big game and I am proud of Johnny."

Johnny Jackson already made the most of his switch. He took advantage of his role, as Samajie Grant, Trey Griffey and Tyrell Johnson were all out of the game. Jackson proved to be Anu's favorite target throughout the night and proved to be the most reliable.

"it's really good to be back on offense again. That's where my heart has always been," Jackson said about the flip back to receiver.

Somehow Anu Solomon was able to break free from the pocket and avoid critical sacks only to find Johnny Jackson wide open across the field.

Although Johnny Jackson was buried in the depth chart, he should be a regular in the rotation once Grant and Johnson are 100% healthy.

Defensive: DaVonte' Neal

DaVonte' Neal was tied for first in tackles for Arizona, with 11 total. He was attacked early on, which helped pad his tackles, but he never missed a tackle he should have had. Despite his size, Neal is proving that he can get physical and bring a ball carrier down.

Special teams: DaVonte' Neal

But perhaps his best work came on special teams. For one, he didn't muff a punt and didn't follow the ball along the bounce. His best play on special teams was his blocked field goal in the 4th quarter. His blocked field goal led to an Arizona score, which put the game away.

"Then DaVonte', that was another good move too," Rodriguez said. "He is another guy that brings a lot of energy. We played 95 plays and we have to give UTSA credit because they were getting first downs too."

That blocked field goal was the first from Arizona since 2002.