Joiner and company adding to Wildcats’ elite offense


Mike Christy

Jamarye Joiner celebrates during the Hawai’i game.

Ryan Wohl

Redshirt sophomore Jamarye Joiner was the Arizona Wildcats’ leading receiver in 2019 in receiving yards (552) and touchdowns (5), but he did all that while playing injured for most of the season. Joiner told the media on Monday, Oct. 19, that the broken foot he had surgically repaired in the offseason hindered his ability to play for most of the 2019 season.

“I’m ready to go, I put myself in the best position during the offseason to get my body to 100 percent,” Joiner said.

With a healthy Joiner, this Arizona receiving core has begun to look like a strong group of guys who can play multiple spots on the field with elite size and speed.

Outside receivers coach Taylor Mazzone spoke highly of the talented second-year wide receiver Boobie Curry – who is predicted by many to have a breakout season in 2020.

“[Boobie Curry] has made tremendous strides in his routes with fundamentals,” Mazzone said.  “He has gotten stronger and faster, and you can tell how confident and smooth he is at running routes now.”

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Curry played in nine out of the 12 games last season, but only caught six balls for 68 yards. Those underwhelming numbers could change this season, as he is playing with his old high school teammate and friend, quarterback Grant Gunnell.

Throughout the offseason, all of the Wildcat coaches and players have spoken highly of their new QB1 coming into this season. Gunnell has fully taken over the reins as the sole starting quarterback coming into the 2020 season and his teammates are starting to respect his leadership.

“[Gunnell’s] arm has gotten a lot stronger and he has taken much more leadership of the offense,” Joiner said. “This year it is really his offense. He has taken leadership and ownership of everything that’s going on.”

Last season was tough on the whole offense, with the quarterback situation of Khalil Tate and Grant Gunnell. After the first few games in 2019, head coach Kevin Sumlin decided to rotate the two arms throughout the game.

If you’re worried about Gunnell being ready to take on the role of the team’s full-time starter – think twice because Mazzone said Gunnell has been one of the Wildcats’ hardest-working players in the offseason.

“I have never seen a guy like [Gunnell] use the weight room as such a big element in his arm strength,” Mazzone said. “We have a lot of guys, they are averaging about 6-foot-1. We have a bunch of guys that are stepping up and ready to play.”

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