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Arizona football: A look at the Wildcats’ wide receivers entering training camp

Third in a series

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Arizona will begin preseason training camp on Wednesday, Aug. 2, a month of workouts and practices to get the Wildcats prepared for the 2023 season that opens Sept. 3 against NAU.

To get you primed for camp, we’re breaking down each position group on the roster. Today we focus on the wide receivers, who have a big hole to fill in their 3-headed monster.

Players on roster: 13 (8 scholarship, 5 walk-on)

Projected starters: Jacob Cowing (Sr.), Montana Lemonious-Craig (Jr.), Tetairoa McMillan (Soph.)

Cowing passed on the NFL for a chance to broaden his skill set, and this spring spent as much time playing on the outside as he did in the slot. That’s because Arizona must replace Dorian Singer, the Pac-12 leader in receiving yards who transferred to USC. His 1,105 yards and six touchdowns will be missed, but there’s plenty of production returning.

The 5-foot-11 Cowing had 85 receptions last season, third-most in school history, as well as 1,034 yards and seven TDs. His 3,629 career yards rank 51st in FBS history and are the most of any active player; another 1K season will put him in the top three all-time.

McMillan, the highest-rated prospect UA has ever signed, live up to all the hype last season. The 6-5 catch machine averaged 18 yards per reception and led the Wildcats with eight scores, four of them coming in the red zone and four coming in the fourth quarter.

The third starting spot, which could be inside or out depending on how Arizona wants Cowing to line up, most likely will go to Lemonious-Craig, a Colorado transfer who was the Buffaloes’ most productive offensive player last season but was part of the mass post-spring purge by Deion Sanders in Boulder.

Top backups: Kevin Green Jr. (R-Fr.), AJ Jones (R-Fr.)

Green and Jones split time at that third receiver spot during spring ball, and both showed why their futures are bright. Green, at 5-11, is more a possession receiver like Cowing while the 6-4 Jones has that big play ability that comes with his size.

As true freshmen that duo only got 28 combined offensive snaps and zero targets, since the starters rarely came out, but there’s a desire to go much deeper at the position this season.

Also expected to contribute: Jaden Clark (Soph.), Jackson Holman (Fr.), Devin Hyatt (Fr.), Malachi Riley (Fr.)

The Wildcats added four receivers in the 2023 recruiting class, and the ones that stand out most in August have the best chance to get some playing time in September and beyond. Also in the mix is Clark, a walk-on who hasn’t played in his two seasons but was very visible during spring ball.

Next up: Tight ends