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Briefly committed to another team, Stanley Berryhill III has been Arizona’s spring MVP

arizona-wildcats-football-stanley-berryhill-ball-state-cardinals-transfer-cummings-fisch-2021 Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

If there was an offensive MVP of Arizona’s spring ball to this point, it’s hard not to give the nod to Stanley Berryhill III. Not a practice has gone by without the redshirt junior wide receiver making at least one standout play.

That includes Saturday’s scrimmage inside Arizona Stadium where, after catching an option route, he withstood a hard hit over the middle and stayed on his feet in order to score a long touchdown.

“He’s made probably, statistically, the most amount of plays on the positive side and the least amount of plays on the negative side,” UA coach Jedd Fisch said of Berryhill, one of three receivers who are back with the team this spring after entering the NCAA transfer portal.

Berryhill didn’t just put his name in there, he actually hooked up with another team, committing to Ball State on Dec. 28. That was five days after Fisch was hired to replace Kevin Sumlin but about a week before Fisch hired Kevin Cummings to coach Arizona’s receivers.

Cummings said earlier in spring practice that his message to Berryhill and the other portal-entered wideouts was that he knew how rough the COVID-mangled 2020 season was, but to give him and the new staff a chance. Those words must have worked, because Berryhill decommitted from Ball State on Jan. 7 and a week later announced his return to the UA program.

“I just had a great conversation with Coach Fisch and Coach (Cummings),” Berryhill said. “I felt like I started something here, so I might as well finish it and make something special.”

Berryhill, a Tucson native, finished his high school career in California and then walked on to Arizona in 2017. After a redshirt year under Rich Rodriguez’s staff, Berryhill was put on scholarship just before the 2018 season and played in all 12 games, catching 14 passes for 218 yards and two TDs.

He made three starts in 2019, with 19 catches for 288 yards and three scores, and in 2020 was Arizona’s top target with team-bests in catches (23), receiving yards (227) and TDs (3) during the five-game season.

Berryhill said he’s enjoyed working with Cummings, whom he called “a great, outgoing coach, someone you want to be around,” and credits those traits for how Cummings was able to convince him, Boobie Curry and Jamarye Joiner to return from the portal.

He’s also digging the offense that Fisch, passing game coordinator Jimmie Dougherty and offensive coordinator Brennan Carroll have instituted, one that seems perfectly catered to the 5-foot-10, 181-pound Berryhill’s skill set.

“We have a lot of condensed formations, a lot of motion,” he said. “A lot of misdirection stuff.”