Over the next two weeks, the Pac-12 blog will be be looking around the conference at several players who really stood out during spring ball. It’s only 15 practices, but it’s enough time to catch the eyes of coaches and gain momentum going into the season.
Today, we start with Arizona.
Breakout player: WR Cayleb Jones
2013 statistics: Redshirted as transfer rules required him to sit out
The case for Jones: Jones transferred to Arizona last summer to get a fresh start after his freshman year at Texas. He appeared in 10 games for the Longhorns in 2012 but didn’t gain significant game experience. Last season, he worked on the Wildcats’ scout team while sitting out.
However, even though Jones isn’t the most veteran player in the room, he had a big spring for Arizona. The redshirt sophomore not only gives the Wildcats another weapon in their wide receiver arsenal but could also find himself fighting for a starting role.
Arizona returns six of its seven top wideouts from last season, and between Jones, Austin Hill, Trey Griffey, Samajie Grant, Nate Phillips and Davonte' Neal, head coach Rich Rodriguez is really going to have his pick of receivers. Because Jones sat out last season and saw limited action at Texas the year before, he was very much an unknown quantity coming into spring. But with the way coaches have talked about him, it sounds like he’ll factor in to the wide receiver battle at Arizona.
Jones comes from a football lineage -- his father, Robert Jones, was a 10-year NFL veteran after being a Butkus Award finalist in college, and his uncle, Jeff Blake, played in the NFL for 14 years. With those genes and a year to get into the playbook and ease his way into the Arizona offense, Jones could eventually show up his dad and uncle.