Change isn’t always easy for college football players who are halfway through their career with a prgram. But for Arizona junior Cam Denson, switching from defensive back to wide receiver this spring is just what he wanted.
After the Wildcats win over New Mexico in the New Mexico Bowl last December, Denson met with head coach Rich Rodriguez with the hopes to be moved to offense. Denson played both in high school at Salpointe Catholic in Tucson and it was something he began to think about after about the midway point of the 2015 season.
“I just really wanted to play receiver and didn’t really want to play corner back anymore,” explained Denson. “But I was still at the position so I was still going to give it my all.”
“After the bowl game, I talked to Rich Rod and was like ‘being on offense is really what I want to do,'” he mentioned. “He said we would make that happen, we came back after the break and I was a receiver. He just agreed with it and rolled with it because he said he wanted to do the switch anyways so it just happened to he at the right time.”
“I think that’s his position,” said Rich Rodriguez. “I think we’ll keep him there. I don’t see anything that’ll happen that will make us move him back.”
Denson is a playmaker and admitted that having the ball in his hands rather than defending others on the football field brings just a little more out of him.
“You play with a little more enthusiasm because you actually get the ball,” Denson stated. “All along I thought I was actually a receiver so I think this is the thing for me so it made me happy.”
Having played defense for two years, Denson might have more of an understanding of the wide receiving position now than he ever had prior. Because of that, Rodriguez agrees that the learning curve for him might not be as steep as it would for others making the move.
“There is probably more learning to do from a play standpoint but he’s sharp football-wise,” explained Rodriguez. “Right now he’s just playing on the outside but by the end of spring, I think he will now all four receiver positions.”
“I know what the defense is trying to do whether it’s a press man or a bell three or whatever they are trying to do,” added Denson. “I am more familiar with it because I actually participated on that side of the ball.”
This marks the second consecutive spring where we have seen a local prospect within the Wildcat program who had the “athlete” tag out of high school make the switch to the opposite side of the ball. Last year, we saw Davonte Neal from Chaparral move from receiver to defensive back and ultimately became one of the team’s top corners. Denson now makes the opposite move and hopes to have similar success behind the aid of veterans like Neal as well as seniors on offense like Trey Griffey.
Though it will be the first time Denson plays wide receiver for the Wildcats, it is not the first time he will be catching passes in Arizona Stadium. He did so multiple times in a Salpointe uniform in the 2013 state championship game. One of his touchdowns in the game went for 99 yards in route to a state title.
“It always brings back good memories because you are scoring touchdowns, having fun, high-fiving guys and just being a team player out there,” Denson said. “But the last time I played [offense] out here it was a fun memory.”