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Stanley Berryhill says Arizona is using criticism as ‘fuel’ for Pac-12 play

arizona-wildcats-stanley-berryhill-receiver-nau-streak-twitter-focus-oregon-2021 Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

It was another big night for wide receiver Stanley Berryhill III last Saturday, catching 11 passes for 94 yards. It was the second time this season he’s had 10 or more receptions, the first Arizona player to do that since Austin Hill in 2012.

But like his 12-catch, 102-yard performance in the season opener against BYU, it came in a loss, effectively rendering it meaningless in his mind.

“I don’t really think about individual stats or goals,” Berryhill said Tuesday. “If I’m not winning games I just try to focus on what more I can do to help our team get better, whether it’s knowing the play calls better, knowing what everyone else has to do—just in case someone else needs help on the field—or just meeting with coaches and stuff. I don’t try to focus too much on the individual goals and accolades that I’ve accomplished so far this season. I just try to do to focus on what I can do better to help someone.”

Arizona’s 0-3 start and 15-game overall losing streak has overshadowed a tremendous start to 2021 for Berryhill, who was the UA’s leading receiver in the COVID-shortened 2020 campaign as well. He has 28 receptions, fourth-most in FBS, and is on pace to shatter the school single-season mark of 93 set by Bobby Wade in 2002.

Like everyone connected to the UA program, Berryhill was quite discouraged after the 21-19 home loss to NAU. Later that evening, after leaving the football facility, the fifth-year junior took to Twitter to share his mindset. His message, “Just keep your (head) down and go hard every opportunity you get it will all work out,” had received more than 300 likes as of Tuesday afternoon.

It also received a fair number of replies, nearly all positive. The same can’t be said for tweets made by fans and critics about the state of the program after losing to an FCS school.

They say never to read the comment section, but Berryhill thinks otherwise.

“I read what everyone has to say about us and about our coaches and all that,” he said. “I just use it to fuel us. Some people might not be able to take it. I know that the people who are tweeting those things or talking bad about us, they’re not here with us, so they don’t know what’s going on. They haven’t been here every day since January, trying to change a program. I read it, just to see what people got to say, but it doesn’t really affect me that much because they don’t know. They don’t know what they’re talking about most of the time, and they couldn’t survive a day working out and doing what we got to do. I trust in my team and my coaches and I know that, regardless of what people are saying, that we’re gonna stay strong and just keep pushing.”

Berryhill said he understands fans’ frustration—“nobody wants to lose three games in a row, nobody wants to lose at all”—but he doesn’t consider this season to be lost, not with Pac-12 play starting up.

“Now we’re playing for something bigger,” he said. “If we could win these games we could turn around the season.”

If Berryhill keeps putting up numbers like he has, not only could that translate into victories for Arizona but also a shot at a national award for him. The Bulsworth Trophy is given annually to the top FBS player who began his career as a walk-on, which Berryhill did before being awarded a scholarship in 2018.

Three receivers have won the award since it was created in 2010, most recently Clemson’s Hunter Renfrow in 2018.