UA FOOTBALL

Arizona football: Role players are making big impact

2012-10-11T00:00:00Z 2014-10-10T11:31:30Z Arizona football: Role players are making big impactRyan Finley Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
October 11, 2012 12:00 am  • 

Austin Hill has this thing about standards.

Ask the Arizona Wildcats wide receiver to set a goal, and he'll pick something so insanely high that few players can ever dream of reaching it. Talk about his accomplishments, and Hill will mention his few mistakes.

"I'm a little hard on myself," he said with a shrug. "I like to go out and do the best I can. The only goal I really set is no drops … but I'm already not living up to that."

Hill has been a breakout star through the first half of the Wildcats' season, even though his eight drops bother him. He's not alone: The UA (3-3 overall, 0-3 Pac-12) has received serious contributions from a handful of guys once thought to be, at best, role players.

Here's a look at five of them:

Cayman Bundage

Position: Guard

Stats: Bundage has played in five of the Wildcats' six games so far this season.

Known for: Playing right away

Details: Who says true freshmen can't contribute? Bundage has played admirably on a veteran offensive line this season, a tall task given Arizona's depth on that side of the ball. Consider: Of the 10 true freshmen to see the field this year, Bundage is the only one who plays offense.

Johnny Jackson

Position: Inside receiver

Stats: In five games, Jackson has caught 18 passes for 152 yards.

Known for: The best quarter ever

Details: The sophomore receiver caught a career-high 10 passes for 75 yards in the Wildcats' 54-48 overtime loss to Stanford. Nine of Jackson's catches - and 67 of his yards - came during a splendid second quarter; four went for first downs.

The performance was validation for Jackson, a walk-on who was limited to seven catches and 77 yards in the first five games. Coach Rich Rodriguez said Jackson is in line to start.

"No question," he said.

Austin Hill

Position: Inside receiver

Stats: In six games, five of them starts, Hill has caught a team-high 42 passes for 608 yards. His five touchdowns are more than any other two Wildcats receivers combined.

Known for: Being Arizona's best inside receiving threat since Rob Gronkowski

Details: Hill initially resisted the move inside, where he'd be treated more like a fast tight end than a flanker-type receiver. But the switch has turned out to be a brilliant one. Hill already has more receiving yards (608) through six games than all but three of Arizona's receivers had in all of 2011.

Tevin Hood

Position: Nose tackle

Stats: In six games, and one start, Hood has six total tackles.

Known for: Taking the long way

Details: Hood might be the Wildcats' most unlikely contributor this season. The walk-on spent his first two seasons at Duke and the University of San Diego, respectively, before a chance encounter with Rodriguez prompted him to consider the Wildcats. Hood enrolled in January with plans to sit out the 2012 season per NCAA transfer rules; a waiver granted over the summer allowed him to play right away. Hood's emergence adds an extra wrinkle to the Territorial Cup game: Hood's younger brother, Jaxon, plays at Arizona State.

Jared Tevis

Position: "Bandit" safety

Stats: In five starts, Tevis - a former Canyon del Oro High School star - has registered 42 tackles and one sack. He has also intercepted two passes.

Known for: Surviving a grisly injury

Details: Tevis severely sprained his left ankle while covering a pass in the first quarter of Arizona's Week 5 loss to Oregon State. Not only did Tevis survive the nasty roll - his foot folded underneath his ankle, which was pinned against the turf - he returned later in the game. The experience underscores just how tough Tevis is: Though he didn't play against Stanford last week, he could return as soon as next week to face Washington.

On StarNet: Follow the Wildcats through the second half of the season at azstarnet.com/finley

Up next

• Who: Washington (3-2, 1-1) at Arizona (3-3, 0-3)

• When 7 p.m., Oct. 20

• TV: Pac-12 Arizona

• Radio: 1290-AM, 107.5-FM, 990-AM (Spanish)

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


Pac-12 South football standings

  Conference Overall
Team W L T PCT W L T PCT
Arizona 7 2 0 0.778 10 3 0 0.769
USC 6 3 0 0.667 8 4 0 0.667
UCLA 6 3 0 0.667 9 3 0 0.750
Arizona State 6 3 0 0.667 9 3 0 0.750
Utah 5 4 0 0.556 8 4 0 0.667
Colorado 0 9 0 0.000 2 10 0 0.167

Pac-12 North football standings

  Conference Overall
Team W L T PCT W L T PCT
Oregon 8 1 0 0.889 12 1 0 0.923
Stanford 5 4 0 0.556 7 5 0 0.583
Washington 4 5 0 0.444 8 5 0 0.615
Cal 3 6 0 0.333 5 7 0 0.417
Washington State 2 7 0 0.222 3 9 0 0.250
Oregon State 2 7 0 0.222 5 7 0 0.417
Free Wildcats Sports Newsletter

University of Arizona sports news and blog headlines, delivered daily


Follow the Arizona Daily Star

Deals, offers & events

View more...