TUCSON — Tyler Slavin is one of two true freshmen on Arizona’s new depth chart for offense and defense.
The 6-foot-2 receiver has taken advantage of the legal trouble and summer transfer of Delashaun Dean, as well as the up-and-down camp of Gino Crump, to be a potential factor in the passing game. He is listed as the backup to junior standout Juron Criner.
“I expect to go out there and be like the second go-to guy and help Juron Criner out this year,” Slavin said. “I feel like I can make plays.”
Slavin made several big plays in camp in 11-on-11 drills, but he dropped a pass on the numbers in Saturday’s abbreviated scrimmage.
Previously, he had said one of his goals was to make the quarterbacks comfortable with him — “just make them feel that I can be there for them,” he said.
Slavin is one of two Arizona freshman receivers from Roosevelt High in Corona, Calif. The other is 6-3 Austin Hill, who also had his moments in camp — especially when making the leaping catch — but appears headed for a redshirt.
They were not a package deal coming out of high school; Arizona simply liked them both.
Co-defensive coordinator Tim Kish, who recruits that area for the Wildcats, was the lead recruiter on both players.
“Once I met them and knew what great character they had and passion for playing the game, and good students, it was a no-brainer to really offer both of them,” Kish said.
“But it’s very unlikely,” he added, talking about taking two players at the same position from the same school. “Very rare.”
–The other true freshman on the two-deep — outside of starting long-snapper Chase Gorham — is safety Marquis Flowers.
–Backup junior defensive tackle Jonathan Hollins has left the team. Hollins, who originally signed with Texas Tech in 2006, later attended College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita, Calif., before signing with Arizona. He redshirted last season.
The Wildcats appear to have plenty of capable bodies at the tackle positions but are largely inexperienced past senior Lolomana Mikaele. Redshirt freshman Sione Tuihalamaka is projected as the starter next to Mikaele.
Redshirt freshman Justin Washington and junior college transfer Willie Mobley were among those vying for a spot in the rotation during camp.
–Arizona, whose Saturday scrimmage was limited to 20 minutes because of lightning, took to the field for a closed scrimmage Monday night, originally scheduled as a day off. The Wildcats will now move forward with direct preparations for the Sept. 3 season-opener at Toledo.