FORT HUACHUCA – Arizona football players found out they have plenty of fans here. The loudest cheering section may be for receiver Devin Veal.
The redshirt freshman is coming back home, sort of, with UA moving its fall camp to the Army fort until Saturday. Veal is from Hereford, a small nearby town.
“It’s different being here on the base, but it’s good to be at home,” Veal said. “It’s good being able to come back and show the hometown people what I can do.”
Fan support is vital to Veal because the former Sierra Vista Buena High standout lost both of his parents in the last four years.
Veal’s father, Donald Sr., died last season in a scuba diving accident. Veal’s mother died of cancer in 2004.
“He’s a terrific kid and has such a great work ethic,” said Bill Wright, Buena’s baseball coach and a family friend. “He has been through so much and has handled the tragedy so well. . . .
“He has such a charisma around him that everybody loves. He’s a popular guy who people still follow around here.
“How he responds to tough situations is a testament to what his parents instilled in him and the values he has.”
Veal has been showing off his good hands, especially lately.
The 5-foot-11, 170-pound wideout hauled in five passes during Saturday’s scrimmage at Arizona Stadium, and he caught several deep balls during Thursday’s first workout on the fort softball fields.
There’s still plenty of work to be done, even though the Wildcats are returning their four top receivers from a year ago.
“I want to push the guys ahead of me and see if I can get some playing time,” Veal said. “I want to see how many reps I can get.”
Veal feels more comfortable on the field, and it shows. He’s working with the second team and becoming more than just a decoy.
“As a freshman, I came in just to get acquainted with everything and everybody on the team,” Veal said. “This year it has been about getting ready to play and getting after it.”