Of the nine players who contributed to Arizona’s offensive production in the season opener, four were not on the roster when Jedd Fisch was hired. That includes Stanley Berryhill III, who had entered the NCAA transfer portal shortly after Kevin Sumlin was fired but, after a brief period committed to Ball State, ended up returning to the Wildcats.
And in his official “return” to action with the UA, Berryhill produced the game of his life.
The redshirt junior wide receiver set career highs in receptions (12) and yards (102) in Arizona’s 24-16 loss to BYU in Las Vegas. The 12 catches were the most by a Wildcat since Cayleb Jones had 13 against Cal—AKA, the ‘Hill Mary Game’—in 2014.
“I just made the most of the opportunities that came my way, just try to be aggressive and physical when I got the ball in my hands, like Coach Fisch preaches,” Berryhill said Tuesday.
Fisch said Berryhill, who along with defensive end Jalen Harris was awarded the No. 1 jersey at the end of camp, “earned his number.”
“I thought what Stanley was able to do on Saturday night was effect the game in a very positive way,” Fisch said.”
Berryhill got 83 of his 102 yards after the catch, or 81.4 percent. From 2018-20 only 31.9 percent of his receiving yards came after the catch, but in those seasons he took a very different post-catch approach.
“This is the first time I probably didn’t run out of bounds, when I was ready to get hit, in my career,” he said. “It’s just something that I know that I’ve done in the past and (wide receivers coach Kevin Cummings) just told us we don’t run out of bounds, we fight for the extra yards. So that’s something I took pride in, and I’ve been doing it all camp and it seemed to pay off so I’m gonna continue to do it. I felt like that changed a lot and now I see why they tell us to do that because you could pick up a couple more yards that could be crucial to a first down or something.”
Berryhill said a big reason why he was quick to go out of bounds in the past was because “I’m a pretty small guy,” but this offseason he added 13 pounds to his 5-foot-11 frame and believes his added strength contributed to his performance.
“I’ve been in the weight room, put on some weight and I mean it showed a little bit on Saturday,” he said. “It wasn’t easy to take me down. It wasn’t easy to take any of us down. TO and the strength staff has done a great job, we all put on a lot of healthy weight, and we’re still running fast. I think I’m not going to be out of bounds anytime soon.”
Nor will Berryhill be taking many breaks. In addition to playing 80 of Arizona’s 88 offensive snaps he also saw 13 plays on special teams, serving as the Wildcats’ punt returner and also playing on punt and kick coverage units. He was one of the UA’s gunners on all five punts, something he volunteered to do.
“Some fatigue kicks in a little bit,” Berryhill admitted. “If I could give my hardest for four to six seconds, like the coaches always say, that’s how long the play normally lasts. If it’s six times (in a row) then I could do it so a seventh time.”