Arizona Wildcats football: On Samajie Grant's toughness, the kicking game and Ka'Deem

2014-04-04T11:19:00Z 2014-04-04T12:04:07Z Arizona Wildcats football: On Samajie Grant's toughness, the kicking game and Ka'DeemDaniel Berk Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

It's no secret Arizona should have a deep and talented group at wide receiver this season. Austin Hill is back from injury, DaVonte Neal and Cayleb Jones are both eligible after transferring and everyone other than Terrence Miller is back from 2013.

So combine Hill, Neal and Jones with Nate Phillips, Trey Griffey, David Richards, Garic Wharton and others, it becomes easy to forget about Samajie Grant, which seems silly. 

As a true freshman, Grant 47 catches for 373 yards and one touchdown. If Grant is the forgotten man, he doesn't care and certainly doesn't see it that way.

"I don't look at it like that," Grant said. "All of our receivers are good, but it's not like we have a Sammy Watkins here. Nobody is like him. If that guy was in front of me, I'd be like 'oh man, I gotta do something crazy to get ahead of him.' Don't get me wrong, we have a lot of good receivers, but I'm right there with them."

Grant said he's been working mostly on his mechanics since the end of last season. More specifically, he's been trying to improve his route running, looking in the ball, tucking it away and other little things.

He made it through his freshman season healthy and has been full-go this spring, unlike Phillips, who is recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. Although even if Grant did get hurt, he probably wouldn't tell anyone.

"I don't really believe in injuries," said Grant, in what could be the line of the spring. "I don't like doctors, so if I am hurt, I probably won't say anything. Last year I got in trouble a lot for not going to treatment. But I'm a man, I can suck it up."

Grant was joking a bit there and said he knows if it's something serious, he has to check in with the doctors, but likes avoiding them at all costs. 

The sophomore-to-be has also been working with the returners this spring. He had 10 kickoffs for 193 yards last season and could see time in that role again this season.


The competition for the starting kicker spot is down to two men — for now.

Bret Miller, who redshirted last season and was expected to be in the kicker and punter competition, is no longer on the team. The San Clemente, Calif., native was taken off the roster earlier this week.

That means the competition this spring is down to Casey Skowron and Jack Flatau. Skowron seemed to be the favorite coming into the spring, but he has been dealing with a hip flexor injury all spring and it has hurt his consistency. 

Special teams coordinator Charlie Ragle said Skowron should be fully healthy soon and it's not a long-term problem. Flatau is a walk-on, who redshirted last season and has gotten most of the work this spring with Skowron hurt.

Returning punter Drew Riggleman has gotten most of the work at that spot.

However, that could all change in the fall when Josh Pollack arrives. Pollack, out of Highland Park, Ill., is expected to compete for time at both kicker and punter. He will be a preferred walk-on to start, but should be put on scholarship in the future. ESPN.com ranked Pollack as the 25th best kicker in the country. 


We're now less than five weeks out from the NFL draft and Ka'Deem Carey's stock is all over the place.

Let's start with the good:

NFL.com's Bucky Brooks is very high on Carey and writes "if I had to point out one guy to watch moving forward, I would suggest keeping an eye on Arizona's Ka'Deem Carey. The Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year amassed 3,814 rushing yards and 42 touchdowns on the ground from 2012-2013, displaying a relentless running style that is ideal for the pro game. While scouts have seemingly taken him to task for his pedestrian 40-yard dash time, Carey displays the vision, instincts and short-area burst frequently displayed by the most effective runners in the NFL."

And the bad:

In Mel Kiper's three-round mock draft, he doesn't have Ka'Deem Carey listed at all. That is not an unpopular position at this point and it seems more and more possible that Carey could slip to the third day/fourth round. 

There's also this from the very well respected Matt Miller of Bleacher Report:


Athlon Sports recently ranked the Pac-12 coaches. It's an interesting list, we'll say. The good folks at the ESPN Pac-12 blog have a good shakedown of it. 

If you you're short of time, we'll tell you Rich Rodriguez is No. 6. The biggest things that stand out to us: Todd Graham at No. 3 and Oregon's Mark Helfrich at No. 11.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

About this blog

Daniel Berk began covering UA football in 2013 after spending two-plus years as the Star's high school sports coordinator. Previously, he served as the sports editor and NAU beat writer for the Arizona Daily Sun in Flagstaff for three years.

A University of Kansas graduate and St. Louis native, Berk is still getting used to 350 days of sunshine, the relentless "dry heat" of the summer and the fact that Tucson doesn't have a real hockey rink.

Contact Daniel at dberk@azstarnet.com or by calling 573-4330. Follow him on Twitter @DSBerk.

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