Editor's note: This is Ronnie Stoffle's first solo piece for the site. He previously wrote for 602Sports.com.
One of the offseason narratives has revolved around the Arizona Wildcats is the lack of size at receiver. Cayleb Jones had been the team’s most productive receiver over the last two seasons. He posted 128 receptions, 1,923 yards and 14 touchdowns over that stretch. Those are impressive stats to say the least. I forgot to mention he didn’t miss a game, making 27 straight starts.
The bad news is he declared early for the NFL draft. The good news is the next two most productive receivers over that time, Samajie Grant and Nate Phillips, are returning for their senior year. These two have combined for 145 receptions, 1,631 yards and 14 touchdowns during their time with Cayleb.
There’s no debating Jones is an awesome specimen. A productive receiver with his size (6-foot-3, 215 pounds) isn’t easy to find. It would have been great if he returned for his senior year, but he’s not. Now it’s time to fill that void and I nominate Samajie and Nate.
From a passing game perspective, a strong case could be made that this season relies on them.
These two have come through the ranks together. They have combined for over 240 receptions and nearly 3,000 yards in their three years together. I understand that Rich Rodriguez' offense operates with a lot of bubble screens and quick hit routes but goodness, if that’s production I’m not sure what is. The goal is to get them in space to make plays. These guys are reliable playmakers and even though "they lack size", they’re more than capable of making this passing game just as dangerous as ever.
If you're looking for a hot take, here’s one: Anu Solomon is the most valuable quarterback in the 2016 Pac-12. If everyone stays healthy and Anu progresses the way everyone expects him to, Samajie and Nate are the primary beneficiaries.
I think it’s fair to expect big performances from these two in their final season.