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How will Arizona replace its senior wide receivers?

Losing Shun Brown, Tony Ellison and Shawn Poindexter will leave Arizona’s receiving corps thin

arizona-wildcats-southern-utah-thunderbirds-what-we-learned Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

This past summer the Arizona Wildcats’ receiving corps was considered to be fairly thin and unproven. Aside from Shun Brown, Arizona was going to have to rely on a breakout year from Shawn Poindexter and another overachieving year from Tony Ellison.

Luckily, the trio delivered big time. And now the staff will have to figure out to how to replace three seniors, who hauled in 1,939 receiving yards, roughly 69% of all yards accounted for by receivers.

The way it stands now, Arizona will have 11 scholarship receivers on the roster for 2019, mostly underclassmen, which includes the one public wide receiver commitment in Jalen Johnson. Of the 11 scholarship receivers, only three have more than one catch at Arizona.

It starts with the lone senior-to-be wide out Cedric Peterson, who has 29 catches for 372 yards in his 31 games at Arizona. After redshirting his first season, his redshirt freshman season ended early after breaking his foot in practice. He had some flashes in camp and games, but never got into a regular rotation.

The next most experienced receiver brings us to Devaughn Cooper, who has 21 catches through 21 games for 395 yards. In 2018, he reeled in 18 passes for 368 yards. The 5-foot-10 speedster left the program for a bit during the summer of 2017, and had to work his way back.

As an up-and-coming redshirt freshman walk-on, Stanley Berryhill III entered the season stringing together a successful spring and fall camp under the new staff, earning himself a scholarship. He racked up 14 receptions for 218 yards, good for an average of 16 yards a catch, and two touchdowns.

This is where things start to get iffy, and the addition of a graduate transfer or elite recruit needs to come in. The graduate transfer market will become a lot more clear as we officially end the 2018 season. As for recruits, all eyes are on Jalen Curry, a four-star who is teammates with Grant Gunnell at St. Pius X High School.

But what about Keyshawn Johnson Jr.? I’m inclined to say that he’ll never play a down at Arizona.

So now back to guys who are currently on the roster.

One guy who was lined up quite a bit this season was Thomas Reid III, a redshirt sophomore walk-on out of Hawaii. He only recorded one catch for six yards, but he lined up quite a bit, showing that the staff trusts him to know his plays and fill his role.

News came out that Brian Casteel’s season ended early after he suffered a back injury in week one. The ultra-productive Charter Oaks High School product has the potential to be Nate Phillips 2.0, a sure-handed receiver that can make a play inside or downfield.

Drew Dixon, a do-it-all guy at Sabino is a big, strong body at 6-foot-3, 215 pounds. He has the tools to be a weapon and entering year three in the program certainly gives you some hope. He lined up in the Oregon game this season but did not record a catch.

We saw brief appearances from Tre Adams, Drew Dixon and Marcus Thomas this season, and perhaps these are the next few who step up into bigger roles in 2019.

Marcus was an electrifying player out of the 2018 class, but still a little raw. He gives the position much-needed size. He recorded a catch for 17 yards and still holds his redshirt after only playing in three games, so where exactly he stands in unclear.

Adams, one of the more complete receivers and more polished recruits from the 2018 class, has the size and potential. He lined up in a few games but did not record any catches.

But again, more than ever this is an inexperienced group. Prior to the season when we weren’t sure about who else steps up, I felt really good about Adams, Marcus and Joshua Szott stepping into a big role as true freshmen, only to have Ellison and Poindexter step into even bigger roles than expected.

The depth is extremely young and inexperienced, and it’ll be a big offseason to see which receivers emerge.

As for who will be throwing them the ball, well that is a mystery too.