Arizona football: Wildcats find Jenkins a slot

UA to plug 'Mr. Utility' in at receiver, so RB can be on field with Carey
2013-08-14T00:00:00Z 2013-08-14T08:17:13Z Arizona football: Wildcats find Jenkins a slotDaniel Berk Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
August 14, 2013 12:00 am  • 

The nickname hasn't stuck with any of his teammates yet. But if Daniel Jenkins has the type of senior season he's expecting, it will soon enough.

"I like to be called 'Mr. Utility Man,'" Jenkins said laughing.

The joke may end up being on opposing defenses.

The fifth-year running back is hoping to expand his game this season and help the Arizona Wildcats in more ways than just carrying the football.

"I'm looking to do everything possible to show every single competing skill I have," said Jenkins after the UA's first practice of the day on Tuesday at Kindall/Sancet Stadium. "I'll be returning punts, playing slot, running back - doing a lot of different things."

With wideouts Austin Hill and David Richards out with injuries and Tyler Slavin gone from the program, the Wildcats may use Jenkins as a slot receiver, even though the Moreno Valley, Calif., native spent his first four years in the program exclusively as a running back.

Jenkins will still spell running back Ka'Deem Carey, but don't be surprised to see both playmakers in the game at the same time and Jenkins filling multiple roles for Rich Rodriguez.

"That was a set that we really liked in the past," said Rodriguez of playing Jenkins and Carey together. "We did it some last year. With those two, it would be a pretty good set. We're trying to get the best 11 on the field. With Daniel Jenkins and Ka'Deem, those are two of our best 11."

The decision to try to get Carey and Jenkins in the game at the same time more has excited both backs.

"We both know it's going to be hard to stop for opposing defenses," Jenkins said. "He's going to cause so much attention and then when people figure out what I can do, they're going to have trouble figuring out how to cover that.

"We do discuss it and we're excited to see how it will work out. We both know what the possibilities are."

Of course, all of this almost never happened.

After the UA's win over Nevada in the New Mexico Bowl, Jenkins announced he was planning to transfer to Washington State.

He wasn't with Arizona for spring drills, but he never officially enrolled in classes in Pullman.

When the option arose for Jenkins to return to Tucson for his senior season, he didn't pass it up.

"It was one of those things where I had an opportunity to come back and I sat down with (the coaches) and they told me the plan and I was like, 'Yeah, let's do it,'" Jenkins said.

Now, the "plan" calls for Jenkins to be an important part of the UA's offense this season, toting the ball and catching it.

One of the first things Rodriguez said when Jenkins returned was that he would look to him to be one of the Wildcats' leaders on offense.

"I did think it was over - my time here at Arizona," Jenkins said. "Life has a way of playing itself out. Everything happens for a reason and I believe that. These are my guys. It was just a little vacation for me.

"It's definitely surreal being back out on this field, in this uniform."

Jenkins said he added five to seven pounds of muscle in the offseason and also increase d his speed.

He said he worked on his strength, footwork, route-running ability and catching punts in the offseason.

The playmaker wants to make sure his final season in Tucson counts.

"It's going to be my last year, so I was preparing myself to be that all-purpose back so I can give those people at the next level every bit of film they have to look at me," Jenkins said. "It's going to be exciting to see what it all looks like on (the Cats first game).

Extra points

• The UA's home game on Sept 14 against University of Texas-San Antonio has been scheduled for 7:30 p.m. It will be televised by Pac-12 Arizona.

Times have now been announced for four of the UA's 12 games, including Aug. 30 vs. NAU (7 p.m.), Sept. 7 at UNLV (7:30 p.m.) and Oct. 10 at USC (7 p.m.).

• The Wildcats returned to their practice digs at Kindall/Sancet Stadium on Tuesday after more than a week away while the grass was being resodded.

On StarNet: Follow the Cats through training camp with reporter Daniel Berk's blog at azstarnet.com/berk

Training camp: Day 11

At Kindall/Sancet Stadium

  • Temperature at start: 84 degrees and mostly sunny at 8:40 a.m.; 99 degrees and mostly sunny at 6:10 p.m.
  • Newcomer watch: After mostly playing wide receiver at Salpointe Catholic, walk-on Brogan Kemmerly is working with the UA safeties during fall camp. Listed at 6 feet and 190 pounds, Kemmerly is a candidate to redshirt this season, but will eventually bring some talent and depth to the position.
  • The big number: 2: The Wildcats practiced twice in the same day for the second time this camp. The UA will hold another two-a-day workout on Thursday.

Cats pick up another Texas transfer

The Arizona Wildcats have landed yet another transfer from a BCS conference school.

Wide receiver Cayleb Jones, who spent last season at Texas, committed to the UA on Tuesday.

Jones chose Arizona over Clemson, North Carolina, East Carolina, UCLA, Auburn, Colorado and Oklahoma. He will sit out this season per NCAA transfer rules.

"The second time around, he looked at the scenario and wanted to go to a program where he would have a chance to play right away," Jones' father, Robert, told the Star.

The wideout flew to Tucson on Tuesday night and could be with the UA when it practices tonight.

Jones, originally from Austin, Texas, was a five-star recruit coming out of high school. He was ranked as the third best wide receiver in the country by the Scout.com recruiting service. He played as a true freshman for the Longhorns and had two catches for 25 yards in 11 games.

After the season, Jones ran into some off-field trouble. In February, he was charged with felony aggravated assault for allegedly breaking the jaw of a Texas tennis player. In April, those charges were dismissed and reduced to a misdemeanor.

Three months later, Jones announced he was transferring from Texas. Longhorns coach Mack Brown had already announced Jones was going to be suspended for the season opener.

Jones will have three years of eligibility remaining.

He's the latest transfer to commit to UA. Since April, the Wildcats also have received commitments from former Notre Dame wide receiver Davonte' Neal and ex-Texas quarterback Connor Brewer.

Contact reporter Daniel Berk at dberk@azstarnet.com or 573-4330. On Twitter @DSBerk

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


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