With a couple of junior college transfers set to make a bunch of plays for the Arizona Wildcats’ defense (Paul Magloire and Dane Cruikshank), there’s one on the offensive side of the ball that’s only been in Tucson for a couple months, but is ready to get out there at the NCAA level.
Shawn Poindexter, a 6-foot-6 wide receiver out of Glendale Community College, caught the attention of his teammates and coaches early on. But he knows there’s still a lot of work to do with the season-opener looming.
"It’s nothing like I’ve ever seen," Poindexter said about going through Arizona’s fall camp. "At the JUCO level we don’t really have camp similar to this, so it was new for me, and it was fast for me, but I think I’m getting the tempo down."
That tempo is what threw him off the most while trying to make the necessary adjustments to succeed at the Division-1 level.
"The biggest adjustment I have to make is the speed of the game," he continued. "The players are a lot faster. They’re more athletic. More physical. So it’s just about playing faster and playing smarter too."
"I talked to a few other JUCO guys and they were like ‘oh it’s similar to JUCO’ but we run a fast-tempo offense and that was the biggest adjustment. It’s just so much faster than I’ve ever been a part of."
Poindexter’s decision to come to Arizona was pretty unexpected as National Signing Day approached in February. He was committed to Marshall, but then Rich Rodriguez and the Wildcats jumped in at the last moment.
"I just talked to Coach RichRod for a little and he was very sincere," explained Poindexter. "He said ‘I know we’re late in the process, but we want you to come out here and look at the facility before you make your decision’. So I was like okay, I’ll definitely take that trip."
It was the visit to Tucson that sealed the deal.
"Everything," Poindexter responded when asked what stood about his trip to U of A. "Coming from a JUCO, we don’t have all these nice things. So I see this nice facility, this nice weight room, the nice gear, locker room and everything...it was just like Christmas Day."
The tall receiver took two other visits; one to South Dakota State and one to Marshall.
"No comparison whatsoever," he said about those two stacking up against Arizona. "I mean, they had their indoor facilities, but even then, they still don’t compare to this atmosphere that U of A brings."
But the offensive situation the Wildcats are in right now didn’t hurt either.
"I looked up the quarterback situation with Anu (Solomon) and he still has two years left and he has two really good years," Poindexter added. "So I was just like the sky’s the limit over there."
His decision on where he wanted to ultimately end up had to happen very quickly though.
"It was very hectic," said Poindexter about those couple of days leading into National Signing Day. "I was calling my mom, my uncle, my dad...all my family just talking to them, asking them ‘Hey, what should I do? What do you think is best for me?’."
"Ultimately, I got to stay in-state. We’ve got what, eight home games cuz BYU’s right down the road, and my family doesn’t have the money to travel, so I’m like ‘Okay, this could work’."
Now actually working with the quarterbacks he looked up before coming to Arizona, Poindexter has been pleased about how he’s been able to click with them throughout the summer and fall.
"I came out June 5th and we started working; running routes on air and stuff," he said. "I’m still getting the feel for them a little bit. Anu’s a very slick guy as far as he can give you a no-look pass and you won’t be expecting it, but the more we work, the better our connection will be."
Poindexter has put himself in a good spot to see important snaps early on in his Arizona career. And the Wildcats will likely have a use for him, as he’ll tower over any defensive back that is trying to cover him.