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Arizona football: Surprise performers midway through Fall Camp

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A few names who have worked their way into the rotation this season

J.J. Taylor
Jason Bartel

Every year there are standout performers throughout fall camp, catching the attention of the Arizona Wildcats coaching staff just weeks before the first game of the season.

Rich Rodriguez has mentioned that the 2016 recruiting class would play a big role in their first season with the team, and it's showing in August.

Here’s a look at a few guys who have not seen significant action in college that are turning heads so far.

J.J. Taylor

So we’ve learned that Taylor is unlikely to redshirt this season, allowing him to contribute to the running back corps this season, likely as the top option for the third-string back.

This was an absolute steal in the 2016 recruiting class and Arizona will be able to use him many ways throughout the offense. With Nick Wilson and Orlando Bradford ahead of him, he's going to be the ultimate change-of-pace back, bringing a new level of speed to the offense.

Lorenzo Burns

Donte’ Williams doesn't have a whole lot of depth at corner, but he likes the pieces that he has to work with. Arizona brought in six defensive backs in the 2016 recruiting cycle, with Burns being the lone corner.

He's made a few plays throughout camp and could be someone who sees the field this season with some significant reps.

Arizona might not have a lot of depth at corner, but Williams did lead San Jose State to the top-ranked passing defense in the nation in 2014, and finished second in that category in 2015.

Justin Belknap

I was a huge fan of Belknap this past spring, especially when seeing him run with the first team defense during the open practice. He’s simply a walk-on who has worked his tail off, quickly becoming a pleasant surprise for the defensive staff. Rich Rodriguez has been giving him high praise throughout the offseason.

Even if Josh Allen were to have made it to Arizona, I still would have had Belknap ahead of him. The Wildcats are really going to be scraping by with the defensive line talent, but you can count on Belknap to bring some production to the table.

Shawn Poindexter

Height at the wide receiver position is a big concern. There’s Trey Griffey at 6-foot-3 and then your next tallest projected starting receiver would be Cam Denson/Tony Ellison.

MORE: Poindexter turning heads early on

At 6-foot-6, Poindexter is a physical specimen, which makes him an incredibly valuable late addition to the 2016 recruiting class.

Having a guy like Poindexter on the outside will make the offense so much deadlier. Griffey on the opposite side, with Samajie Grant and Nate Phillips in the slot sounds pretty lucrative.

Dane Cruikshank

Cruikshank’s size has been all the talk of camp this fall, as he measures out to be 6-foot-2, with some nice arm length as well.

I had the pleasure of talking to Dane this past spring and he really feels like the game has slowed down. He felt like redshirting wasn't the best option for him when he first saw the depth chart, but his thoughts on that have changed now as he’s matured and become arguably the best corner on the team.

Converted wide receiver DaVonte’ Neal is having a nice spring under the new staff and you can ink Cruikshank’s name on the opposite side of Neal.