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Football recruiting SitRep: Looking at Arizona’s future at wide receiver, 2019 targets & more

This week we’ll look at the receiver group

Arizona v Colorado Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

With about two weeks left during the Spring Evaluation Period, the Arizona Wildcats continue to hit the road recruiting. That means checking in on players with offers or seeing new prospects added to the board.

We have been looking at each position group for the ‘Cats, starting with the quarterbacks and running backs, and this week we’ll take a look at the wide receivers. We’ll also go look at what the No. 1 player in American Samoa has to say about Arizona. We’ll also be adding a new feature to the SitRep where we keep a running list of who UA is doing well with.

Lastly, the SitRep will be divided into two parts like last week (the second part will include the offers from the past week).

Without further delay, let’s dive into this week’s SitRep.

Eddie Siaumau, S/OLB

We’ll start with a player to keep an eye on as the cycle progresses. The hybrid safety/linebacker took a visit to Tucson in April and came away impressed. He didn’t pay too much attention to the facilities, but really enjoyed his interaction with the coaching staff. And it was that interaction that stood out to him.

Siaumau is the highest ranked player in American Samoa and has the skillset to have that title. He is a tough-nosed player who loves to hit. He does have really solid coverage skills and he plays with a very high motor. Due to his size and aggressiveness he reminds me of 2018 signee Dayven Coleman.

Arizona is his biggest offer right now but I can see him grabbing more as the spring and summer play out. He is a player to watch when it comes to UA.


Wide Receivers

Key Returners: Shun Brown, Shawn Poindexter, Tony Ellison, Brian Casteel, Devaughn Cooper, Cedric Peterson, Darick Holmes Jr., Thomas Reid III

Returning Redshirts: Drew Dixon, Stanley Berryhill III

Key Losses: Tyrell Johnson

Key Newcomers: Thomas Marcus, Tre Adams, Jailen Bailey, Keyshawn Johnson Jr. (?)

Returner Notes: The wide receiver group has a lot of questions going into fall camp. There are some flashes of talent but overall the group has work to do before the season. There are a lot of pieces coming back so they will be an experienced group. One change that I believe will eventually pay dividends is the split coaching between outside (Taylor Mazzone) and inside receivers (Theron Aych).

Shun Brown and Tony Ellison were the most targeted and consistent players in the group last year. They will be relied on once again this year and can play both inside and outside. A player who has gotten better and better every time he steps on the field has been Shawn Poindexter. He has become a favorite target for Khalil Tate and showed out during the Spring Game. He made some really great jump catches last season and I’d expect more from him this upcoming season.

Moving on to some other returners, there are two in particular that I expect to have a major role this year. Brian Casteel and Devaughn Cooper did play a little bit last year but only combined for three catches between the two. They are both explosive playmakers and have great hands. Casteel had a phenomenal 24-yard catch against ASU along the sideline. And Cooper can be one of the most dangerous athletes in open space on the roster.

Another player who could see some more time this year is Darick Holmes Jr. He could benefit from Noel Mazzone’s offense, especially with the screen passes and bubble screens. The past couple of seasons Cedric Peterson has been playing outside, however, I could see him moving inside in the new system. Thomas Reid mainly played on special teams last year and I expect the same this year.

Redshirt Notes: There are two players coming off redshirt seasons that are going to be vying for playing time this fall. The first is Drew Dixon, who was a do-it-all player for Sabino. He is still a little raw as a receiver but I still believe he will be able to see the field. And then there is electrifying walk-on Stanley Berryhill. He made noise on the practice squad last year and absolutely exploded during the Spring Game. He is honestly going to be fun to watch.

Newcomer Notes: The three newcomers bring a lot of size and some shiftiness that Arizona fans should be used to. Starting with Thomas Marcus, who also played basketball for San Diego High School. His overall athleticism is the biggest part of his game. Couple that with his hands and you have a great prospect. Marcus is still a little raw but has tremendous upside. He brings needed size for the outside sitting at 6-foot-4 and I believe he’ll have a great career at UA.

Tre Adams is the next newcomer we’ll look into. He also brings great size for the outside, at 6-foot-3, but is more refined than Marcus. His routes are crisper and he has pretty solid hands and concentration. He is also pretty fast for his size, enabling him to outrun defenders.

Finally we get to Jailen Bailey. He is a little underrated in my opinion. With his speed and agility he reminds me of Samajie Grant, who ended up having a pretty solid career in Tucson. Bailey is another player I believe will succeed in Mazzone’s offense as a slot receiver. He has solid hands and, as mentioned above, has the speed and agility that can make him dangerous in open space.

2019 WR Targets

Based on the amount of offers that the staff has pushed out, it is clear they want to change the makeup of the wide receiver corps. Below are some of the targets I believe UA will pursue the hardest.

Elijah Higgins, 4-star

6-foot-3/215 pounds/Bowie High School (Austin, TX)

Unable to find career stats

Higgins is a big-bodied, physical receiver. So much so there has been talk of him possibly moving to tight end in college. He has the hands and concentration that coaches want in a receiver. His size and physicality also allow him to win jump ball situations and allow him to wrestle the ball away from defenders. UA has very recently gotten his attention and it’ll be interesting to see how serious of a look he gives the ‘Cats. He will be a difficult pull either way.

Puka Nacua, 4-star

6-foot-2/180 pounds/Orem High School (Orem, UT)

Career Stats (31 games): 158 rec, 2,934 yards, 31 TD; 8 car, 97 yards, 0 TD

Nacua took a trip out to Tucson last summer for the Polynesian Showcase and left with an offer. He is someone I can see the staff continuing to pursue, and for good reason. He is quite an explosive, dynamic playmaker. He has speed and agility and, at times, makes defenders look silly. He has great vision of the field which allows him to put multiple moves on defenders and gain huge yardage. He had a great junior season but only holds six offers. I would expect his recruitment to really take off this summer.

Khyheem Waleed, 3-star

6-foot-3/180 pounds/Casteel High School (Queen Creek, AZ)

Career Stats (9 games): 14 rec, 358 yards, 8 TD; 3 car, 50 yards, 2 TD

Waleed is someone that Arizona fans should get to know. He has already taken two visits to Tucson and has built a very solid relationship with the staff. His recruitment has started to take off a little bit with California and Oregon State the other Pac-12 schools who have offered him. He is another explosive athlete and uses his speed to blow past defenders. He’ll be able to have a full season at Casteel and should be extremely productive, which will only garner him more attention on the recruiting front.

T.Q. Jackson, 3-star

6-foot-2/180 pounds/Jefferson High School (Jefferson, TX)

Career Stats (24 games): 81 rec, 2,037 yards, 22 TD

Jackson is a recent recipient of an offer from UA and there’s no wonder why. He is another explosive receiver whose game revolves around his speed. He runs crisp routes and has solid hands, but his speed is the aspect of his game that stands out the most. He will be difficult to pull out of Texas but UA is going to try. As of now Arkansas and Texas Tech have the most buzz surrounding his recruitment.

Nathaniel Beal III, 3-star

6-foot-5/205 pounds/Strake Jesuit College Prep (Houston, TX)

Career Stats (9 games): 25 rec, 612 yards, 3 TD

Beal is a matchup nightmare. At 6-foot-5 and over 200 pounds, he is a big body who and a physical specimen. He is deceptively fast for his size but nothing too mind-blowing. His size also makes him a huge red zone threat and gives him the advantage in jump-ball situations. Arizona is doing really well in this recruitment and is another name for Arizona fans to keep an eye on. Some of his other offers include Baylor, Arizona State, Iowa State, and Purdue.

2019 Watchlist

This is a new section in the SitRep where we keep a running list of players that we believe will commit to Arizona soon or players they are doing well with. It will be updated every week.

Jalen Cropper: 4-star Athlete; 22nd ranked ATH; Clovis, CA

Grant Gunnell: 4-star Pro-style Quarterback; 3rd ranked Pro QB; Houston, TX

Elijah Higgins: 4-star Wide Receiver; 24th ranked WR; Austin, TX

Drake Jackson: 4-star Weakside Defensive End; 27th ranked WDE; Corona, CA

Jermaine Johnson: 4-star Weakside Defensive End; 2nd ranked WDE (Juco); Eden Prairie, MN

Tre’Mon Morris-Brash: 4-star Weakside Defensive End; 21st ranked WDE; Washington, D.C.

MyKael Wright: 4-star Cornerback; 5th ranked CB; Valencia, CA

Stephon Wright: 4-star Strongside Defensive End; 14th ranked SDE; Los Angeles, CA

Nathaniel Beal III: 3-star Wide Receiver; 105th ranked WR; Houston, TX

Bailey Elder: 3-star Offensive Tackle; 96th ranked OT; Tacoma, WA

Brandon Joseph: 3-star Safety: 79th ranked S; College Station, TX

Shamar Martin: 3-star Cornerback; 47th ranked CB; San Diego, CA

Austin McNamara: 3-star Punter; 1st ranked P; Gilbert, AZ

Dez Melton: 3-star Athlete; 75th ranked ATH; Glendale, AZ

McKade Mettauer: 3-star Offensive Guard; 38th ranked OG; Houston, TX

Sio Nofoagatoto’a: 3-star Defensive Tackle; 83rd ranked DT; Clearwater, FL

Mark Perry: 3-star Safety; 35th ranked S; Rancho Cucamonga, CA

Seth Robinson: 3-star Outside Linebacker; 57th ranked OLB; Scottsdale, AZ

Logan Sagapolu: 3-star Center; 4th ranked C; Lehi, UT

Eddie Siaumau: 3-star Safety; 109th ranked S; Pago Pago, AS

Nassir Sims: 3-star Defensive Tackle; 95th ranked DT; Goodyear, AZ

Shae Suiaunoa: 3-star Athlete; 73rd ranked ATH; Houston, TX

Jaden Tauanu’u: 3-star Outside Linebacker; 108th ranked OLB; Pittsburg, CA

Khyheem Waleed: 3-star Wide Receiver; 84th ranked WR; Queen Creek, AZ

Kwabena Watson: 3-star Outside Linebacker; 50th ranked OLB; Fresno, CA

Cameron Wiley: 3-star Athlete; 99th ranked ATH; Las Vegas, NV

Jalen Williams: 3-star Outside Linebacker; 105th ranked OLB; Phoenix, AZ

Michael Wiley: 2-star Running Back; 122nd ranked RB; Houston, TX

Devyn Butler: Unranked Cornerback; Allen, TX