The wide receivers are one of the Arizona Wildcats’ most interesting position groups this season.
Shun Brown is one of the most dangerous vertical threats in the Pac-12, Tony Ellison has progressed well over the years and has proven to be a reliable option, and 6-foot-5 Shawn Poindexter is the breakout candidate desperately needed on the outside.
Khalil Tate figures to throw the ball more in Noel Mazzone’s offense and the UA offensive coordinator feels that the slot is in a good place right now, with three targets able to rotate in.
“I really like all those inside guys. Shun and BC (Brian Casteel), Tony (Ellison), Shun. I feel really good about those guys,” Mazzone said.
Casteel is a relatively new name that is bound to breakout in 2018.
The 6-foot, 210 pound target was a promising three-star recruit out of Covina, California in 2017, ran a couple routes throughout the season and played on special teams, but only had the chance to catch one ball for 24 yards in the Foster Farms Bowl.
But the problem for the wide outs: Arizona doesn’t have a solidified No. 2 receiver on the outside.
“Right now we have some competition on the outside,” Mazzone said. “We got Poindexter out there, but Cedric (Peterson) needs to come on and there are some young guys.”
Peterson, a former three-star recruit from the 2015 class, has yet to have the opportunity showcase his abilities. He redshirted his freshman year, suffered a broken foot in 2016 and caught seven of his eight passes last season in the first four games.
The young guys capable of challenging Peterson figure to be freshmen Tre Adams, Thomas Marcus and Josh Szott.
Tre Adams, a 6-foot-3, 190 pound receiver out of Frisco, Texas, is a very well-rounded receiver. He’s a strong and physical with soft hands and a good first step, reminding you a lot of Trey Griffey.
Next comes Thomas Marcus, the 6-foot-2, 209 pounder from San Diego. He’s a phenomenal athlete that explodes off the line and can burn a guy deep to come down with the ball, or give you the home run ability after the catch.
Lastly is Josh Szott, a recently discovered walk-on originally on track to play at Colgate College. The 6-foot-2, 189 pound gem can explode off the line, create separation and win a jump ball.
With the new redshirt rule, giving players a four game allowance without burning their redshirt, they should get some run in at least four games.
But together the three will be pushing Peterson for playing time, and it won’t be surprising to see a combination of three rotate together as co-starters for the No. 2 outside spot.
There’s still a lot of fall camp to play out, but Arizona can’t go wrong with either of those three, and the upside is there for any of them to hold the outside spot for years to come.
“We’re getting to the point now where I think, as opposed to the spring, we got some competition going to get on the field. It’s like any camp, you’re looking for competition, because competition builds good football teams,” Mazzone said.