Dean’s departure closes book on once touted trioby Brad Allis on Jun. 23, 2010, under Sports
On signing day 2006 the Arizona coaching staff thought they had a coup. They signed, what looked on paper, to be a terrific class. A key part of that class was three prep receivers. They were big, athletic and well regarded. With his departure from the Arizona program on Tuesday, Delashaun Dean closes the book on that three-receiver class, leaving Wildcats fans disappointed.
When Arizona signed Terrell Turner, Terrell Reese and Dean, it was thought the three could be program changers for the Wildcats. Here were three receivers, each standing 6-2 or bigger, who could give Mike Canales the type of receivers that his mentor Norm Chow had at USC. They were the final pieces to put his offense into play.
A year later the spread offense came in, and the three receivers had to find a spot.
To their credit, two did, for a time at least.
Turner burned his redshirt, but had a decent career. He never developed into a star but had 142 catches for 1,620 yards and nine scores. One has to wonder what would have happened to his career had he redshirted. As a true freshman he had just one catch for seven yards. The next three years saw him average over 45 catches a season.
Dean posted very similar numbers. In his three seasons he had 132 catches for 1,407 yards and seven scores.
Both players had nice, solid careers, but were hardly the stars people had hoped they could be. Neither put up the numbers, or appear headed for the pro careers, that Syndric Steptoe or Mike Thomas had. Neither Steptoe nor Thomas had the physical gifts that Dean and Turner had, but both had blazing speed, nice hands and a willingness to work for everything they got.
Reese was the biggest disappointment. After redshirting in 2006, he played in 10 games as a redshirt freshman and had 20 catches for 200 yards. His sophomore season saw him get suspended for academics and then have a few off the field incidents that ended his football career in Tucson. Both he and Dean saw their chance to make an impact end prematurely.
Ironically enough, it is a similarly sized receiver, albeit one who was not nearly as well recruited, who has become the big, redzone receiver the Wildcats envisioned one of the three developing into. Juron Criner was rated as the nations 155th rated receiver coming out of high school, but has been a more consistent, and a better big play receiver than the young men who were rated 40, 84 and 108 coming into college.