Senior trio of wide receivers ready to lead Arizona football's offense
In recent history, the UA wide receivers corps has had a senior player who leads from the front and provides an example for the rest of the group.
Austin Hill was the leader of the receiver group in 2014 because of his experience and time in the program. Last year, David Richards filled that role for the UA.
This year, the receiver group will take a leadership-by-committee approach with three important players that not only fill very specific roles, but do so in very different ways.
Redshirt senior Trey Griffey, senior Samajie Grant and senior Nate Phillips each provide specific and important skills that will provide the kind of leadership every position group needs to be successful.
UA assistant coach Tony Dews defines this year’s group as unique and effective.
“[Griffey, Grant and Phillips all] lead in a different way,” Dews said. “[Grant] is a little more vocal, and his actions speak. [Griffey] is a little quieter but he leads by actions. And [Phillips] is a cross of [Grant and Griffey]. He will speak up if needed but is quiet by nature”.
With three upper classmen who have game-time experience, coach Dews is able to lean on his core receivers for additional coaching help.
The help he is able to receive is not only valuable for this season, but something he hopes can help him and the program in the future.
“[Phillips] really is a coach on the field, and when he is done playing football, I would love to bring his name back in as a graduate assistant,” Dews said. “I think he could be a great assistant coach or maybe even a head coach someday.”
Despite Richards taking the leadership role last season, the UA’s leading receiver was Cayleb Jones, who finished with 55 receptions for 904 yards.
That production will be missed and it will be up to Griffey, Phillips and Grant to make up for the loss. But none of them have produced numbers like that on their own while at the UA.
Griffey has a career total of 56 receptions for 859 yards. Phillips' best year was in 2013 when he had 51 receptions for 696 yards and Grant had 47 receptions for 373 in 2013, his personal best.
There is plenty of potential in the group and coach Dews believes that their experience will allow them to be successful.
“I’m excited. It’s a new year, a new group. We are fortunate because we have some guys that having been playing a while,” Dews said. “That trio has been playing on and off for four years and [Griffey] red-shirted, which will obviously benefit him.”
The experience these players are bringing to the team this year is something coach Dews has not had before, and he is enjoying the process.
“This is the first time in my coaching I’ve had a group of guys from the day they walked in the door until graduation,” Dews said. “I’m excited being able to see that all the way through.”
With the first game of the year right around the corner, this three-headed monster will look to set the tempo for the new UA receiver corps.
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