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Arizona football notes: Texas transfer Cayleb Jones already at practice

Cayleb Jones at his first Arizona practice. Photo courtesy of Tracy McDannald, goazcats.com

Cayleb Jones at his first Arizona practice. Photo courtesy of Tracy McDannald, goazcats.com

Texas transfer Cayleb Jones, who announced Tuesday he would enroll at the University of Arizona, practiced with the Wildcats a day later, wearing No. 8.

“We don’t take a lot of junior college guys, and typically I haven’t taken a lot of transfers, but we’re looking for players,” coach Rich Rodriguez said after Wednesday night’s practice.

In that search for players, RichRod is putting together a heck of a 2012 recruiting class.

Earlier this offseason, he added Notre Dame transfer receiver Davonte’ Neal and Texas transfer quarterback Connor Brewer to the roster. If this trio had signed with Arizona out of high school, they would have been the Cats’ three highest-rated prospects in their 2012 class, which was Rodriguez’s first at Arizona.

Another reason to not get too excited about real-time recruiting rankings.

Arizona has added that terrific threesome while already losing five three-star recruits from the class — safety Leo Thomas, running back J.T. Washington, receiver Jarrell Bennett, defensive back/receiver Bryan Harper and defensive end Dylan Cozens.

The Cats are probably happy with all the “trades” so far.

Jones (6-3, 200) left the Longhorns last month.

“We saw him. We knew about him. We talked to his coaches, talked to his family, talked to some of the guys who played with him, feel good about him,” Rodriguez said. “Wish he could play this year, but we’ll have to wait a year to get it going.”

Rodriguez said the coaches also sought the opinion of Brewer, who spent a season as Jones’ teammate in Austin.

“We asked Connor about what kind of person he is,” Rodriguez said. “And he said he loved him, thought he was a great guy.”

While at Texas, Jones was charged with felony aggravated assault for hitting a player on Texas’ mens tennis team, but those charges were dismissed and reduced to a misdemeanor. Arizona checked that out, too.

“He had an off-the-field issue and it’s been resolved,” Rodriguez said.

What has yet to be resolved is the status of Neal, who is trying to get the NCAA to waive the transfer rule, allowing him to play this season and not have to sit out. It’s been about two weeks since Arizona made its appeal to the NCAA.

“He’s just out here working, but we’d sure like to know,” Rodriguez said. “We could sure use him.”

Neal is practicing while in NCAA limbo, but he’s not getting the kind of work he would get if the coaches knew he could play in 2013.

“He’s not really taking any reps with the ones,” Rodriguez said, “but he might be doing that if he’s eligible.”

* * *

You’ll want to spend the 27 seconds to watch this one-handed grab by Cayleb Jones from his days at Austin (Texas) High School.

* * *

Jerry Palm of CBSSports.com made his bowl projections Wednesday. Anybody up for another trip to Albuquerque?

Palm has the Cats back in the New Mexico Bowl, this time facing San Jose State. In 2014, the New Mexico Bowl drops out of the Pac-12′s postseason rotation.

* * *

The defense has been ahead of the offense through much of fall camp, so it has had the right to do its share of trash talking.

“I let my play do most of the talking, but I’ll jaw-jack a little bit,” said safety Jared Tevis.

“I think the offense uses that as motivation, though. We’re trying to get after them and make them compete, and that’s going to make both of us better.”

Asked who on defense has the biggest mouth, Tevis didn’t need to pause to think.

Marquis Flowers,” he said of the senior linebacker. “That’s easy.”

* * *

The Pac-12 Networks will debut the its Arizona Football Training Camp show Thursday night at 7 p.m. PT. Hosts Mike Yam and Rick Neuheisel were in Tucson on Monday.

Here is an interview they did with Rodriguez:

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