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Arizona football: Wildcats awaiting word on Zach Benjamin’s eligibility

The USF transfer could have a big impact if he’s allowed to play this year

Jason Bartel

One aspect of the 2016 Arizona Wildcats that people have been worried about is the amount of size at the wide receiver position after both Cayleb Jones and David Richards finished their college careers in the New Mexico Bowl.

When fall practice opened on Thursday, those concerns sort of went out the window with a couple of transfers showcasing their stuff. Junior college transfer Shawn Poindexter has been getting a lot of the talk, but USF transfer Zach Benjamin shouldn’t be going overlooked either.

However, it’s unclear whether or not Benjamin will be eligible this year.

"I think it’s ridiculous that he walks on here, and we have to go through an appeal process to see him get eligible," Rich Rodriguez said after practice on Thursday. "Because if he’s eligible, he’d be able to help us. If not, he’d have to redshirt a year."

Benjamin is listed at 6-foot-4, 211 pounds, and was using that size to his advantage throughout the first night of practice. And it’s not often that you don’t have to use a scholarship on a guy like that.

"He walked on, paying his own way, and I think when you do that you should be able to transfer," Rodriguez continued. "All this student-athlete welfare stuff, I mean, why would you not let a guy pay his own way and be eligible if he can do that."

This isn’t the first time Arizona has had to wait into fall camp to get a player cleared, and there’s no timetable on when this decision will be made.

"We’re going to have to appeal and put a waiver in," Rodriguez explained. "The guy walked on, paying his own way, out of state, big tuition, to be at Arizona. It’s a good situation for him, and we’ve got to file a waiver for him to find out if he’ll be eligible."

The other players know that Benjamin could make a big impact on this year’s team.

"They can both run and they can both catch," tight end Trevor Wood said of Benjamin and Poindexter. "It’s a good asset to have those tall receivers."

We’ll try to keep you updated on Benjamin’s eligibility as camp progresses.