In a perfect world, Jamarye Joiner’s college football career would have already been completed, and it would have been with Rich Rodriguez as his coach the entire time. Instead, the two are reuniting after several years apart.
Joiner, the Tucson-area native and former Arizona quarterback-turned-wide receiver, announced Tuesday he had committed to play next season at Jacksonville State. That’s where Rodriguez is entering his second season, first at the FBS level.
Joiner committed to the UA (and RichRod) in 2016, during his junior season at nearby Cienega High School. He opted not to sign with the Wildcats in December 2017, during the early signing period, then not long after Rodriguez was fired and replaced by Kevin Sumlin.
Despite new offers from Baylor, Nebraska and UCF, and a visit to Alabama, Joiner stuck with his pledge to Arizona and signed in February 2018. He was one of two quarterbacks in the class, the other being Kevin Doyle.
Joiner played QB in two games as a true freshman, but during the offseason was converted to wide receiver. That moved paid off huge in 2019, when he led the Wildcats with 552 receiving yards and five touchdowns including two TDs in the Territorial Cup.
Injuries defined the next three seasons for Joiner at the UA. A foot injury suffered during the 2019 campaign required surgery, and he played in all five games of the COVID-shortened 2020 season but then re-injured the foot in the 2021 Spring Game and needed a second surgery, which caused him to miss the first three games that fall.
By the time Joiner returned his role had switched to that of a Wildcat QB under Jedd Fisch, and then a third foot surgery wiped out spring ball in 2022 and led to him only seeing 21 snaps (mostly on special teams) this past fall.
For his UA career, Joiner had 50 catches for 711 yards and six TDs, along with 66 rushing yards with a score and 106 passing yards with two TDs.
Jacksonville State, which went 9-2 at the FCS level last season, is joining Conference USA for 2023. RichRod took over that program a year ago after spending time as an assistant at Ole Miss and Louisiana-Monroe following his firing from UA, where he went 43-35 from 2012-17 with five bowl appearances.
Since Arizona fired RichRod it has gone 16-38.