On Thursday, Arizona Wildcats junior receiver Tyler Slavin announced on his Twitter account, which he does not make public to everyone, that he was leaving the university.
On Friday afternoon, the athletic department removed his name from its on-line football roster.
There was no other announcement from Arizona — so no reason given for Slavin’s departure — but it’s safe to assume Slavin won’t be back and that the Wildcats once-deep receiver position is getting thin on the outside.
Slavin caught 22 passes for 224 yards and one touchdown last season. At least that one career score was a memorable one. He caught a 2-yard pass with 19 seconds left to cap the Cats’ incredible comeback in a 49-48 victory over Nevada in the New Mexico Bowl.
Slavin’s opportunities appeared bigger this season after the departure of senior Dan Buckner and the spring ACL injury to potential All-American Austin Hill, whose unavailability leaves UA without a proven go-to threat. Hill and Slavin were high school teammates in Corona, Calif.
Arizona, which will be breaking in an inexperienced quarterback, returns David Richards (29 catches for 298 yards, three TDs) at an outside receiver position … and not much else in terms of experience. Redshirt freshman Trey Griffey and Clive Georges need to contribute.
The Wildcats are in a better situation with its inside receiver positions, with Johnny Jackson (25 catches, 187 yards, one TD), Garic Wharton (19-264-2) and 6-4 Terrence Miller as a big slot/H-back/tight end. Miller, a senior, was granted a medical redshirt after appearing in only four games last season because of injuries.
At some point since the end of spring ball, redshirt freshman Jarrell Bennett also has been removed from the roster. He caught two passes for 27 yards and a touchdown in the spring game.
Arizona is still waiting to hear on the 2013 status of Notre Dame transfer Davonte’ Neal, who could by a dynamic player in the slot.
Senior Richard Morrison could always return to offense as a slot receiver. He spent spring practice at cornerback after catching 23 passes for 171 yards and two scores last season, when he also dabbled at quarterback in practice.
The 2013 recruiting class could provide some help at receiver with Paul Elvira, Samajie Grant, T.J. Johnson, Mauriece Lee, Nate Phillips and Lee Walker.
Arizona’s leading returning pass-catcher is running back Ka’Deem Carey, who hauled in 36 passes for 303 yards and a touchdown last season.